David Beckham hits the wall in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area

An alliance of locals supports the former England captain's MLS franchise, but believes there are better sites for the proposed 25,000-seat venue

US EDITOR

When David Beckham arrived in Miami last month declaring his determination to be an “enemy” of no one with his bold plan to build a sexy, state-of-the-art soccer stadium slap in the heart of its port area he surely already knew he was being naïve. Lo and behold the forces against him are mustering.

Trouble for the star of turf and the runway materialised this week with a full-page advertisement in the local newspapers arguing that far more important to the city would be preserving the site for the expansion of the port as it prepares to take advantage of the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Panama Canal.

The advertisement, which appeared on Monday in the Miami Herald under the headline ‘Here We Go Again’, was placed by a newly formed alliance of port-based interests led by Royal Caribbean, the cruise line that is headquartered at the port, as well as unions and companies involved in servicing the passenger and cargo ships that crowd its wharfs as well as a local billionaire car-dealer, Norman Braman.

Unveiled in March, the blueprint for Mr Beckham’s dream involves a sleek 25,000-seat stadium that would be home to the new Major Soccer League franchise for Miami that he will own. There would also be shopping, office space, a hotel and an outdoor plaza for film screenings and World Cup viewing parties.

While there are three other possible sites for the facility, the port is where Mr Beckham would like to be. The stadium would face the high-octane skyline of downtown Miami and sit against a backdrop of cruise ships and the sparkling harbour. “At the moment it’s a view that can only be seen by people with yachts, or cargo ships or by fish,” his property development advisor, John Alschuler, said at the time.

“We don’t want to be an enemy to the people who are opposing the stadium,” Mr Beckham said while he was in town last month. “I want to work with them to change their mindset about the fact that we are here to help the community and help Miami”.

It was a charm offensive, however, that may not have worked. “The Alliance wholeheartedly supports a soccer franchise in Miami and believes there are other sites that would benefit greatly from a stadium,” Monday’s advert said. “However, PortMiami is not one of them, due to the risks a port stadium would pose to jobs, cruise and cargo operations, security, and the port’s promising future.”

Taking the lead in the anti-stadium consortium is John Fox, a former Royal Caribbean vice president. “What the alliance thinks is that port property should be used for port purposes,” he explained. Among the concerns are the traffic the stadium would generate and the parking needed for 5,000 cars. “There are plenty of other places for the stadium to be,” Mr Braman said in an interview with the Herald.

When first proposed, the franchise plan was embraced by local leaders including Mayor Carlos Gimenez, not least because Mr Beckham promises to build the stadium with private, not public funds (though he would ask for state subsidies up to $40 million over 20 years). But any final agreement will need the support of City Commissioner’s, some of whom are already signalling reservations about the port location.

The Beckham forces are striking back, arguing that games at the stadium would be scheduled to avoid clashing with cruise ship arrivals and departures. “The plan doesn’t interfere with port operations,” Neisen Kasdin, another adviser to the Beckham group insisted. “It will likely generate more revenue for the port in the shorter term than other concepts that have been discussed.”

“People are responding to speculation,” Mr Alschuler said in response to the newspaper spot. “I’ve got confidence that commissioners, when presented with a formal recommendation by the mayor - and a full, factual briefing - will respond to the facts.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past