Despite months of silence and political stalemate, professional soccer is still coming to Miami, MLS' commissioner reiterated this weekend — and there's still a good chance the new team will play right next to Marlins Park.
At an event late last week, Miami-Dade Commissioner Xavier Suarez once again showed off his office's three-dimensional renderings of what a new stadium in Little Havana might look like. He tells New Times that David Beckham's group still views the site as the most likely for a new stadium.
"The site plan is done in a way to show that Marlins Stadium need not overwhelm the MLS park," Suarez tells New Times of his vision for the complex. "In fact, the two stadia look like two wings of a bird, and the retractable roof as the torso connecting the two."
On Friday, in a meeting with sports editors from the Associated Press, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber acknowledged the ongoing difficulties with bringing a franchise to South Florida but once again confirmed his league's commitment to bringing a team to South Florida.
"Miami will be in Major League Soccer by the end of the decade," Garber told reporters. "We had two mayors push us to waterfront locations, and then we were not able to finalize a deal on those sites. Now we've got to say, are there other downtown urban locations that make might sense for us? And we believe there are several, and that's what we've been working on."
The most promising, according to Suarez, is still the proposed site in Little Havana, perfectly adjacent to perhaps the most hated sports stadium in America.
"There's been a lot of discussion about the Marlins stadium site," Suarez tells New Times. The commissioner added that within the past several weeks city mayor Tomas Regalado had met with Marcelo Claure, the millionaire Bolivian businessman working with Beckham.
"There's been a lot of love shown by Marcelo for the concept," the commissioner said. "Obviously, Regalado is very supportive of that site."
After megastar Beckham famously unveiled plans for a new MLS team last year in a ceremony on Biscayne Bay, plans for the much-hyped new team have turned into a Miami-sized debacle, with Beckham's group's initial idea for a downtown waterfront site stalled by the cruise industry and local political logistics. A host of sites have surfaced as possible alternatives, including Wynwood, FIU, and Sun LIfe Stadium, although no definitive plans have emerged.
The 3-D rendering — which Suarez began taking to meetings last year — is meant to show that "two stadiums fit on the same site" with minimal disruption to local streets and property. It also demonstrates a cool feature: "When the retractable roof is open...it covers a plaza that is ideal for tail gate parties."