International soccer star David Beckham and the investment group he is leading to bring an MLS team to Miami have found their top choice for a new stadium site, one which will likely surprise.
The Miami Herald reported Tuesday that Beckham's group has asked Miami-Dade County about the feasibility of building a soccer stadium at PortMiami. The stadium would be located in the southwest corner of the port.
"They kind of elevated this site," Deputy Mayor Chip Iglesias told the Herald on Tuesday. "We said yes, we'd take a look at it."
Under a current plan being developed by the county, the southwest corner of the port could be opened to commercial development in order to raise port revenues. A hotel, office complex, and harbor space for mega-yachts are part of the plan.
According to Iglesias, there are 25 acres of land available on the site, enough for a 25,000-seat stadium that can expand for larger events.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez' office told the Herald that the county would not finance a stadium, instead it would lease the land to Beckham's group and they would be responsible for building the stadium.
The site does have a few major issues facing it, namely traffic and parking. Parking spaces will be hard to come by, and on game days there will be only two routes in and out of the stadium, from Port Boulevard on NE 6th Street and the new Port Tunnel that will open in 2014.
Beckham and his group are considering 30 potential stadium sites, according to the Herald. He recently toured Marlins Park in Little Havana, where an MLS team could play temporarily while a new stadium is under construction.
Beckham can form an MLS expansion team at a discounted franchise fee thanks to the contract he signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007. Billionaire Marcelo Claure and Miami Heat star LeBron James are among the people reportedly involved with Beckham's group.
Last week, Beckham said of owning an MLS franchise, "Miami is something that really excites me because there is a great energy down there. They are ready for a football team in that part of the world."
MLS has not officially awarded an expansion franchise to Beckham's group, but the league is definitely interested in expanding into Florida. Orlando was named the newest MLS expansion team earlier this month.
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