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David Beckham unveils new soccer stadium

Stadium to include parks, retail and restaurants

Erick Johnson | 3/27/2014, 9 a.m.
The good news is that it’s big, lavish and the perfect fit for downtown’s stunning transformation into a world class ...

The good news is that it’s big, lavish and the perfect fit for downtown’s stunning transformation into a world class metropolis.

The bad news is that it may lure away the University of Miami Hurricanes football team from Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens

Those scenarios came to light Monday as designs for the proposed soccer stadium were unveiled by retired soccer

legend David Beckham and his group who set out to dazzle community leaders, hoping to score big with plans to put the structure at the Port of Miami.

The renderings, a collaborative design by Miami’s Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture of Kansas City, includes a glistening stadium sitting on the edge of Biscayne Bay that will be connected to downtown by an unused drawbridge converted into a pedestrian park. At the foot of the bridge will be a plaza with restaurants, shops and open terraces. The tropical setting may be include concerts, World Cup broadcasts and other events throughout the year.

But the stadium could spell trouble for Sun Life Stadium and the City of Miami Gardens. The Beckham group is in discussions to share the stadium with The Miami Hurricanes, which now play at Sun Life Stadium under a long-term lease. The Beckham group is willing to make the accommodations for the arrangement by expanding the seating capacity to 40,000 from 20,000.

With the stadium closer to the UM campus and Metrorail and Metromover feeding into a transformed downtown Miami, the Beckham Group’s proposal may be the perfect deal compared with the aging Sun Life Stadium that’s 20 miles away from Coral Gables.

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David Beckham

Without UM, Ross will lose additional revenue from his stadium, making his recent proposal to privately fund renovations to Sun Life in exchange for $4 million in tax breaks from the county crucial to landing the Super bowl and other events to make up for the loss. And Miami Gardens city officials may end up deciding whether on waiving at least $1 million in annual tax revenues on the stadium just to help Ross keep the franchise in the stadium or lose it altogether.

The Miami Times was unable to reach Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert to comment on this story before deadline.

But all this hinges on Beckham’s group hope to land the Port of Miami as the site of new Major League Soccer franchise against other groups that are competing for the property as well. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines headquarters skirts the site and the company has publicly opposed the project.

Miami –Dade County Commissioners are concerned traffic from soccer games may interfere with port operation or future expansion. There is also concern the stadium would add to heavy traffic combined with crowds attending the Miami Heat games at the American Airlines Arena just a few feet away next door. But Beckham’s group vowed to schedule soccer games at the same time as The Miami Heat.