Restored Miami Marine Stadium could host beauty pageants, Jet Ski competitions
Written by John Charles Robbins on August 1, 2017
A restored Miami Marine Stadium could host Jet Ski competitions, beauty pageants and much more, says a report on the future of the Virginia Key venue that R.J. Heisenbottle Architects submitted to the Miami City Commission last week.
Richard J. Heisenbottle said his team and a dozen consultants assembled more than 50 potential uses for the waterfront stadium, thanks in large part to community input.
The report lists five categories of potential uses: marine; sports and fitness; community; education and nature; and entertainment.
The city hired the firm in January for architectural and engineering work related to the long-awaited restoration of the vintage 1963 stadium, which the city closed in 1992 in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
The report to commissioners detailed the four parts of Phase I.
“The challenge of Part A was to answer the primary question at hand. Can the Marine Stadium be successfully restored into a safe structure capable of serving the community’s cultural, sporting and entertainment needs for decades to come?” Mr. Heisenbottle said.
“After having completed extensive evaluation and analysis, I am pleased to say that the answer to the question is an emphatic yes. Moreover, we have identified techniques for cathodic protection of the structure that if properly maintained will allow us to substantially extend the stadium’s lifespan,” he said.
“The challenge of Part B was to answer the second most important question at hand. Beyond the building’s original uses, what sort of new uses would the public like to see the stadium used for and what program areas and equipment are necessary to support those potential uses?” Mr. Heisenbottle said.
He said they broadened the vision to more than 50 types of events including power boat races, sailing regattas, hydroplane races, Ironman competitions, paddle boarding, Red Bull air races, kayaking, drone races, boxing and wrestling, religious events like Easter sunrise services, graduations, artificial reefs, sun bathing, yoga, summer camp, Ted Talks, art festivals, concerts, TV shows, and aquatic shows choreographed with music and lights.
Mr. Heisenbottle said, “We have gone a step further and test fitted these spaces within the existing stadium and floating stage to assure ourselves of the program’s viability… We are confident that the result will be a restored Marine Stadium that is current with entertainment trends throughout the country and that the restored stadium will exceed the expectations of both those who perform in the venue and the patrons who enjoy them.”
The report estimates a probable construction cost of $40,323,361.
“We’re excited,” said Commissioner Francis Suarez.
Restoration will make the stadium “premiere space” and help make Miami “an event destination,” Mr. Suarez said.
Commissioner Ken Russell said stadium restoration is “a dream come true.”
Commissioners approved of staff and Mr. Heisenbottle nominating Marine Stadium for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hilario Candela, original architect of the stadium who is working with the Heisenbottle firm, told commissioners “It’s wonderful to see my baby… back again.”