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Front Page » Transportation » Melreese soccer development seen as airport safety threat

Melreese soccer development seen as airport safety threat

Written by on March 16, 2021
Melreese soccer development seen as airport safety threat

Several county departments have joined the agency that runs Miami International Airport (MIA) in citing safety, traffic and commercial concerns with a soccer stadium complex proposed on nearby City of Miami-owned Melreese golf course.

While there is reason for concern, said Lester Sola, Miami-Dade Aviation director, county staff still needs more information.

“We continue to work with the [developer] as information becomes available and will continue to keep this board apprised,” he told commissioners Tuesday.

Early plans for Miami Freedom Park and Soccer Village include a 25,000-seat stadium, hotels, practice fields, a public park and 600,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

The stadium would homefield Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer team retired soccer star David Beckham owns with businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, Softbank founder Masayoshi Son and Softbank COO Marcelo Claure.

Of eight buildings listed, four would violate height standards near MIA and could obstruct flights in and out of the longest runway, which serves heavy load and long-haul passenger aircrafts. The county got word the Beckham group will lower those buildings, but that information “has not yet been corroborated by the Aviation Department,” a memo from Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

Concern also exists over “large, luminous panels and glowing lights” and an “illuminated roof” at the stadium that could “create a significant hazard and practical difficulties” for pilots and air traffic controllers. “There may also be potential safety concerns and airspace conflicts with stadium “signage, fireworks” and “helicopters, blimps, drones and banner towers.”

During construction, cranes “considerably higher than the final structure” could lead to “flights being diverted to other runways, thus disrupting the [efficiency] and capacity of the airport…”

Danger from radio, electrical and navigational interference may arise and could only be fixed after development. Any such issues “would be resolved at the expense of the developer.”

Regarding traffic, more information than what was provided in a June 2019 report by county staff is needed, former Transportation Director Alice Bravo said.

Data used for the report, which focused solely on Melreese and its immediate surroundings, came from 2018, when the nearby 836 highway was undergoing construction. The report showed lower traffic counts at expressway ramps and near the Miami Intermodal Center than in historic state counts. A third of the 28 intersections in the study area are also close to capacity.

Any traffic impact that adversely affects access to MIA and other economic generators “would be a major factor” to consider in future administrative reviews and project approval processes, said county COO Jimmy Morales.

The project’s hotel element could draw customers from MIA “as there is little modern technology” at the airport’s existing hotel. That could be prevented, the report said, with development of up to two hotels now in MIA’s ongoing 15-year, $5 billion capital improvement program.

Rebeca Sosa, whose district contains MIA, made clear Tuesday she would not support the project as is. “This is going to become a real problem to MIA,” she said. “We cannot allow people to go to Broward County and use their airport over there because of the mess this could create.”

11 Responses to Melreese soccer development seen as airport safety threat

  1. D.C.

    March 17, 2021 at 11:48 am

    Ha, what a joke. Common sense would have led the city and county to put the kibosh on this from day one because there have ALWAYS been safety restrictions in that area that took into account emergency landings and building heights The best location is still next to Marlins Stadium where they can share the already existing garages.

  2. MIA

    March 17, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    Build in Overtown and reinvigorate the area! So close to downtown and next to the river – no parking needed what’s not to like?

    • No One

      March 18, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      I think Overtown was the best place too.

  3. Mahalo Mick

    March 18, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    I think the stadium will be an economic engine for all of Miami and the parks will improve the quality of life for all the nearby residents.

  4. David Pearson

    March 18, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Not only would this development threaten flights in and out of MIA,
    the development would tear up one of Miami-Dade’s premier golf
    courses, a great green lung in the center of Miami’s endemic traffic

  5. Gerwyn Flax

    March 19, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    This has been a boneheaded idea from its inception. After years of haggling, the County is just realizing the logistical issues this project would present. God forbid a loaded airliner unable to gain sufficient altitude on take off. This is blatant ignorance on the part of the developer,the voters and,above all,the County.

  6. Jeffrey Roth

    March 21, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Make the rich guys, one of whom is a foreigner acting with a big case of entitle-itis, trying to jam this down the throats of Miami residents, go do something beneficial in Overtown. This is an absurd attempted private grab of public land. It shouldn’t take years of study to seee what a terrible and corrupt plan this is.

  7. Miami City Man

    March 22, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Always liked the river location downtown without the soul killing parking decks .

  8. Jordan K

    March 31, 2021 at 8:51 am

    The worst idea ever. Stay in Broward or find another location.

  9. Kwa

    April 9, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    The best choice was the first location. Co-create WITH Carnival. That’s your answer.

  10. Kev

    April 10, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Miami International Airport needs to find another location to operate from. This is ridiculous. Their location made sense in the 1940s but not today. Notice how Fort Lauderdale doesn’t have to deal with these problems because their airport is on the coast and doesn’t have their runways pointed directly at downtown!

    MIA needs to move out west or down south. How does Miami Dade expect to grow in an already dense county when the ill positioned airport is crying about every single development going on now? Buildings will only get higher from here especially with our density.

    Look at LAX. Right on the coast. Bothering nobody with their flight paths and no problems in operating.