Should a soccer stadium be built at the Port of Miami? Soccer superstar David Beckham and his investment team have identified the southwest corner of the Port as a potential stadium site for a new Major League Soccer franchise.
Sports enthusiasts hail the waterfront site with its stunning views of downtown as the perfect place to showcase Miami. Naysayers point to an already overburdened transportation system and public ennui with government involvement in professional sports as reasons to look elsewhere.
Team Beckham’s most daunting obstacle, however, could be PortMiami’s 2035 Master Plan. As required by state law, the Port of Miami recently adopted a long-term strategic plan in conjunction with Miami-Dade County’s Evaluation and Appraisal Report on its Comprehensive Development Master Plan. The PortMiami Master Plan designates the southwest corner of the Port for commercial development. To sustain the growth of its cargo and cruise operations, the Port plans to add commercial development as a much-needed “third leg” to its financial stool.
In addition to a mega-yacht marina complex with retail and restaurant areas, the Master Plan places a hotel site and six office development sites on the southwest corner.
The PortMiami Master Plan presents a two-fold challenge to the potential success of the soccer stadium. First, can the proposed stadium generate the commercial real estate revenues envisioned by the Port’s strategic plan? Second, would the development of a stadium at the Port be consistent with the Port of Miami sub-element of the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan as required by law? These questions will need to be addressed as the County considers the request of the Beckham team.
The ball is in play, and Miami is watching to see if Mr. Beckham can kick a goal.