Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez upended the negotiations with David Beckham and his investors Monday by proposing that the group consider building a Major League Soccer stadium on the downtown waterfront — but not at PortMiami.
As an alternative, Gimenez proposed filling a massive boat slip between Museum Park and AmericanAirlines Arena, which, according to the mayor, would create enough new land for a stadium as well as a pedestrian walkway along Biscayne Bay.
“Downtown Miami will greatly benefit from the creation of a grand waterfront park that will serve to bring our urban core closer to the water, providing a magnificent bay front walk along Biscayne Bay,” Gimenez wrote in a letter late Monday to Beckham’s real-estate adviser.
The mayor’s request could significantly shift the soccer debate, which up until now has centered almost exclusively on the port’s southwest corner. That waterfront site has drawn strong opposition from some county commissioners and port interests, led by Royal Caribbean Cruises, which is headquartered next door.
PortMiami is still in play for a possible 25,000-seat, open-air stadium, Gimenez told the Miami Herald. So are other potential sites, including adjacent to the Miami Marlins’ ballpark in Little Havana.
But by formally requesting that Beckham’s group look into filling the slip and report back to the county in two weeks, the mayor is steering negotiations toward an option that had only briefly been discussed nearly six months ago.