City floats boat show deal for Virginia Key
Written by John Charles Robbins on January 7, 2015
Miami commissioners are today (1/8) to weigh a plan to bring the Miami International Boat Show to the city starting next year.
Since November, City Manager Daniel Alfonso has been negotiating with the National Marine Manufacturers Association to host the 2016 show at city-owned Marine Stadium Park on Virginia Key.
On the commission’s agenda is a proposal to license the association to present the show on areas surrounding the stadium.
In exchange, the association would pay the city $1.1 million a year and 50% of food and beverage sales income at the show, according to a 56-page draft deal. The city would spend up to $16 million to improve the site, the draft says.
In December, when commissioners discussed creating a trust to maintain and run the stadium, Mr. Alfonso suggested the city “get the boat show going” first, which would involve much work, including getting green space around the stadium in shape before 2016.
The decaying concrete stadium has been vacant more than 20 years. In a separate move, the commission last month accepted a $1 million state grant for stadium restoration.
A diagram included in the draft deal shows the stadium fenced off for the 2016 show and notes a 10-foot-high fence displaying a rendering of future stadium enhancements printed on mesh screen.
The boat show for years has been held each February at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is being rebuilt and can’t handle the show next year.
In November, the non-profit Friends of Miami Marine Stadium handed the city an elaborate $121 million stadium redevelopment plan.
Commissioners rejected the plan and instead kept it simple, directing Mr. Alfonso to get the boat show for 2016 and maybe longer and create a proposal to fund stadium restoration.