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Beckham presses forward with Miami stadium bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm •  Published: May 10, 2014
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"The port and tourism are the two engine drivers of Miami," said Norman Braman, a billionaire car dealer and former Philadelphia Eagles owner supporting the Miami Seaport Alliance. He unsuccessfully opposed the Miami Marlins baseball stadium, but then led the successful 2011 recall of the county mayor who pushed it through without holding an election. "And a stadium and commercial development that's been proposed just doesn't belong there."

Beckham's consultant, John Alschuler, a real estate adviser who has led waterfront development projects in New York City, Hong Kong and other metropolises, said development of a stadium and other commercial property would likely generate $6 million to $10 million in annual revenue.

He said fewer than 100 jobs would be created directly by the franchise, but thousands more would result indirectly at restaurants and nearby businesses. Alschuler also denied traffic congestion would worsen, noting fans wouldn't arrive until around 6:30 p.m., hours after the cruise ships have sailed.

"It's sheer, deliberate, willful misinformation," Alschuler said of the alliance's claims.

South Florida's last soccer team, the Miami Fusion, played 30 miles north of the port and lasted only three years until 2001 because of low attendance.

That history, perhaps, led Beckham and associates to two conclusions: The stadium must be downtown, and the team must win.

The decision ultimately rests with the mayor and county commission. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has asked Beckham to consider an alternative site near the Heat's arena. But he said he could potentially support a Port of Miami stadium.

Beckham, for his part, came back to Miami on Tuesday, holding private meetings with commissioners and weighing Gimenez's suggested site.

"We want to be a positive for people," Beckham said. "This part of America has not had a soccer team for quite a few years, and they deserve one."

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