David Beckham’s representatives continue to try to win hearts and minds for their proposed Major League Soccer stadium at PortMiami by reaching out to civic groups.
It’s a campaign with a much lower profile than the public unveiling of Beckham’s plans last week, which drew a throng of reporters and the retired English footballer himself to talk up a potential 25,000-seat, open-air stadium with views of the downtown skyline.
On Friday, John Alschuler, the New York-based real-estate advisor for the Miami Beckham United group, stood alone before some 50 people at a luncheon organized by a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce committee.
To turn a professional Miami soccer franchise into an international brand, “we need to do it in an environment that captures people’s imagination,” Alschuler said — preferably by the water.
Negotiations with Miami-Dade County over the port site are ongoing and face significant hurdles, including opposition from Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose campus is on part of the county-owned property. Key county commissioners have also said they are skeptical and fear a stadium would hinder the port’s growth and cause traffic headaches.
Also against the site is Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who said he worries fans trying to reach the stadium using the soon-to-be-inaugurated Port Tunnel would cause traffic backups for Miami Beach residents on the MacArthur Causeway.
“I love soccer and I’m so excited about it coming to Miami-Dade County,” he said. “That’s just an inappropriate location.”