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.”

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 Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?