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Front Page » Government » Port could get aid in land loss for soccer

Port could get aid in land loss for soccer

Written by on December 18, 2013
Port could get aid in land loss for soccer

A new inland port proposed for Medley could help ensure that trade at PortMiami isn’t disrupted if soccer star David Beckham builds a stadium there.

A major property owner in Medley is in the early stages of planning an inland port that could help divert traffic from PortMiami, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz said.

The new site could help accommodate the increased traffic that PortMiami officials anticipate after the Panama Canal expansion, currently under way and scheduled for completion in 2015.

It would also address concerns – such as those raised by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa – that a soccer stadium at PortMiami would cut into one of the area’s chief economic arteries and prevent expansion of cargo and cruise lines in years to come.

“I have tried, but I don’t see the relation of a soccer stadium with the big boats and big cargo that is coming from Panama,” said Ms. Sosa at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

She welcomed the stadium, but urged Mayor Carlos Gimenez to find another site. Her concern was that the county would allow the stadium, only to later have to pay for additional land as the port expands. Plus, she said, the sports venue would undo the county’s work of diverting traffic from the port.

“We have a chance to look for alternatives,” she said.

Other commissioners offered their picks for alternate sites: Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium from Juan Zapata, and Sun Life Stadium from Barbara Jordan. And Xavier Suarez read a statement from Mr. Beckham’s representatives who suggest the group would consider other sites in urban areas close to major transportation hubs, such as the Miami Intermodal Center.

“These are top business people. They will look at anything that makes sense and is positive,” Commissioner Diaz told Miami Today. “But they also want to make this a world-class facility. This is not to win national games. They want to have a world soccer team in Miami.”

All county commissioners said they support Mr. Beckham’s plans for a local stadium, but only if the developer incurs the cost.

“We were very clear on that,” said Mayor Gimenez, who’s been in talks with Mr. Beckham and his team. “That was a caveat when we started to talk to them. No county money, no taxpayer money will be used for the construction of this facility. And if they use county land, there will be a rent payment.”

But even if they receive no county funds, developers might still qualify for state incentives to encourage the project that supporters say would bring jobs and tourism revenue to Miami-Dade.

The county commission agreed, adopting on Tuesday a resolution directing the mayor to identify potential spots near downtown Miami.

“People are going to come from all over just to see the games here, to see their countries play,” Mr. Diaz said. “This is going to be a great economic benefit to all of us.”



3 Responses to Port could get aid in land loss for soccer

  1. JC Gomez

    December 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    The proposal to build a world class soccer team in Miami is interesting from a number of perspectives.
    1. Tourism: Will people travel to Miami for the sole purpose of seeing their country play? Maybe. The city also offers other tourist attractions like shopping, beaches, and night-life plus world class arts. There is also a possibility that casinos may also be a part of the landscape.
    2. Economics: What will the impact of a world class team in Miami have on the local economy? The Miami Heat may be a model that offers some clues to this question. That is if we consider the NBA World Class.
    3. Expansion of the Miami Brand: Will this proposal add to the value of the Miami Brand? Miami is metamorphosing into an international destination with no sight of slowing down. Real Estate investors are pouring money into our market and in 2015; the mix which is brewing in Miami will explode.
    Comments welcomed…

  2. DC Copeland

    December 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    This is crazy talk (aka “Miami Speak”) on two counts. One, if a stadium is built at PortMiami, how will you get the thousands of cars on and off the island without creating major traffic jams? Two, an inland port in Medley would probably require deepening and straightening the Miami River and adding a wide canal. If that was possible, how cost effective would it be?

    Isn’t a simpler solution making Marlins Stadium work for soccer? Beckham can take his investors money and put it into a mass transit loop from the stadium to the FEC’s proposed downtown Grand Central Station (unfortunately for Beckham, the Feds won’t be contributing any money to offset the cost since the “stadium line” would be a private venture– although he might be able to work out a deal that charges riders to take that line with his team keeping all the profits ANY TIME IT’S USED, even for baseball, tractor pulls, etc). To me, that would be a heckava lot cheaper than building a stadium from scratch. In any event, aside from offering everyone south of the stadium in Dade County a chance to take Metrorail to the games, it would also allow everyone living in Broward and Palm Beach counties to take a train into downtown Miami and switch to an elevated MetroMover line looping to the stadium only a few blocks west.

  3. JC Gomez

    December 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Idk how feasible that is but it sounds brilliant!

    I also think that it’s a crazy, almost ridiculous, idea to have a second inland port.