Fate of Miami Marine Stadium turns corner
Written by John Charles Robbins on May 3, 2016
Covenants might be the answer for the fate of Miami Marine Stadium and the southwest corner of PortMiami.
The City of Miami owns much of Virginia Key and the abandoned stadium, while Miami-Dade County controls the port. Reversion clauses could come into play if the sites are developed beyond the scope of the property transfers of years past.
Elected county and city officials huddling April 27 discussed deed restrictions affecting the port and Marine Stadium.
County Commissioner Xavier Suarez kicked things off, noting the deed restrictions on Virginia Key limit the use of Marine Stadium to stadium “and allied uses.” Restrictions on the port property limit development to port-related or “maritime uses,” he said.
Concerns have been raised that commercial development would be wrong for the port as well as Marine Stadium.
Attorneys and administrative staff were said to be working behind the scenes to determine full ramifications of the deed restrictions.
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Commissioner Ken Russell represented the city in the meeting. Mr. Regalado said the port needs to update its master plan.
Talk of hotels rising on PortMiami has raised eyebrows among members of the city’s Downtown Development Authority, now chaired by Mr. Russell. Hotels and restaurants at the port would compete with businesses downtown, he said.
While parties in the past were at odds, there now appears to be “an appetite for cooperation,” Mr. Russell said. “Let’s work together.”
Port Director Juan Kuryla said the port has different needs in 2016 than those pinpointed in its 2010-2011 master plan.
By November there will be a demand for more cruise ship berths at the port, he said. There is a move to smaller, more upscale cruise ships, and a demand for refrigerated warehouses, Mr. Kuryla said.
“We propose to update our master plan to reflect those new realities,” he said.
While talk of hotels on the port triggered city concerns, potential uses on Virginia Key raised eyebrows among county officials and Key Biscayne residents.
Mr. Russell said development of the stadium’s flex park was so rapid that maybe there was a perception of not enough transparency.
The city sank millions into developing the flex park as part of a license agreement to bring the Miami International Boat Show to Marine Stadium Park.
“I’m not against the park or the boat show,” said Mr. Russell. He said he’s met with the city manager and recognizes his intentions for that property.
“I’m confident we will not be in violation of the reverter,” Mr. Russell told county leaders.
Mr. Russell said perhaps the future of the flex park will prioritize the public space rather than an “event” space, with smaller functions held on weekends.
County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro said unfortunately the term reverter has a negative connotation.
“A covenant might be the way to go,” he said.
By the end of the meeting it appeared the consensus was to exchange new covenants between the governments to control and guide development of the two sites.
All seemed to express a desire for a mutually beneficial resolution.