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UDPATED Group of prominent architects, urban planners opposes David Beckham's Miami MLS stadium plan


Prominent architects and urban planners who worked with former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's administration have joined the opposition to building David Beckham's Major League Soccer stadium on the downtown waterfront.

In a statement Wednesday, the five people -- including the person who created Museum Park's master plan -- said city commissioners should reject filling the Florida East Coast Railway slip to build a stadium. Diaz, who was mayor when the city approved unpopular public financing for the Miami Marlins' Little Havana ballpark, came out against the idea last week.

"It is not in harmony with the vision of Miami as a world class city with parks and open areas available for all, for generations to come," the statement says. "We must protect the legacy envisioned by the people of Miami."

The statement was signed by Alexander Cooper, the master plan creator; Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the former University of Miami School of Architecture dean who helped write the city's Miami 21 zoning code; Victor Dover, who worked on the Museum Park charrettes and Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA plans; David Dixon, who helped draft the city's parks and open space master plan; and Ana Gelabert-Sánchez, the city's former planning director under Diaz.

The architects and planners note that a lengthy public process went into designing Museum Park specifically to keep out a baseball stadium, at the time discussed for the Marlins. "Allowing a private venture to take over the last remaining waterfront site in Downtown Miami for use as a stadium reduces quality open space, obstructs public views of the waterfront and disrupts waterfront recreational uses," the statement says.

Beckham's soccer proposal, suggested by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, would require filling the FEC and encroaching on a portion of Museum Park. The newly filled water basin would create additional waterfront park land and connect Museum Park to the property behind AmericanAirlines Arena known as Parcel B, which has long been promised as a park but has never been opened to the public.

4:06 p.m. update: Beckham's real-estate adviser, John Alschuler, responded Wednesday afternoon with a statement calling the opposition from Diaz and the others "disappointing" and noting Diaz's support of Marlins Park, which was approved without a public referendum. A stadium on the slip would be subject to city voters, Miami leaders have said.

"A new soccer park in downtown will appeal to Miami's diverse community, bring the world's greatest game to one of its greatest cities, and create jobs and opportunities for local businesses," Alschuler said.

"It’s disappointing that former Mayor Diaz and his supporters are choosing a disconnected waterfront over a continuous bay walk; a polluted, man-made mega yacht marina over more green space for the public; and a lifeless waterfront over an iconic soccer venue that draws residents and visitors to a downtown that they have worked so long to improve."

Read the full statements after the jump.

From the architects and planners:

Museum Park - Miami’s Waterfront Vision

During the past 14 years, we were honored to work with the citizens of Miami in planning their future. At the start of a new century, Miamians took a step back for the sake of their future, to control their destiny and to realize a collective vision for a city that is built and designed around people, offering them great shared spaces of civic pride. We were and continue to be proud of having been a part of such a historic planning effort.

Through hundreds of public meetings and multiple City Commission public hearings and approvals, the citizens of Miami helped craft a vision to implement the Museum Park charrettes, Museum Park Master Plan, Parks and Public Spaces Master Plan, and Miami 21.  Regrettably, notwithstanding this people-driven planning process, a proposal to build a soccer stadium on the site of Museum Park is currently being considered.

We would like to express our strong opposition to this proposal for the same reasons that a comparable proposal to build a baseball stadium in Museum Park was rejected in 2000.  Multiple public citizen’s workshops, including some of the most heavily attended public meetings in Miami history, were held to gather input from the public. The citizens’ consensus was clear: to preserve the area as green space with two museums, to maintain public access to the waterfront, to provide unobstructed views from Biscayne Boulevard toward the Bay for people of all social and economic backgrounds, and to preserve the FEC Slip as a waterfront recreational area with a bay walk and a place where boats could tie up and enjoy a waterfront park.

The City Commission passed a unanimous resolution reflecting the public intent to renew the area known as Bicentennial Park and create a “premier public park” for the citizens of Miami. The resolution sought to preserve the last remaining access to our waterfront in the downtown area for public use. Based on extensive public input, the Museum Park Master Plan was created and unanimously adopted by the Commission in 2008. Development based on this plan continues with the construction of the Frost Museum of Science, the Perez Art Museum and Museum Park.

Allowing a private venture to take over the last remaining waterfront site in Downtown Miami for use as a stadium reduces quality open space, obstructs public views of the waterfront and disrupts waterfront recreational uses. It also radically changes the vision of a 21st Century premier public park that the citizens of Miami deserve.

This proposal should be rejected. It is not in harmony with the vision of Miami as a world class city with parks and open areas available for all, for generations to come. We must protect the legacy envisioned by the people of Miami.

Alexander Cooper, Museum Park Master Plan

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Miami 21

Victor Dover, Museum Park Charrettes & Southeast Overtown / Park West CRA Plan

David Dixon, Parks and Open Space Master Plan

Ana Gelabert-Sánchez, former Planning Director, City of Miami

From Miami Beckham United:

Miami Beckham United has proposed a realistic plan to expand Museum Park by more than 20 percent, bring a world-class soccer club to Miami that will be enjoyed by everyone, and enhance the public’s access to the waterfront – all made possible through $250 million in private funding, without a single penny of City or County money. A new soccer park in downtown will appeal to Miami’s diverse community, bring the world’s greatest game to one of its greatest cities, and create jobs and opportunities for local businesses. 

It’s ironic that former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, whose Marlins Ballpark cost taxpayers more than $350 million without a single vote being cast, is now opposing a plan that expands Museum Park through private funding and a public vote. It’s disappointing that former Mayor Diaz and his supporters are choosing a disconnected waterfront over a continuous bay walk; a polluted, man-made mega yacht marina over more green space for the public; and a lifeless waterfront over an iconic soccer venue that draws residents and visitors to a downtown that they have worked so long to improve.


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Miami Resident

After almost 20 years, NOTHING has been done. I live in the area, that "park" is an open grass fill, that slip is polluted and unused, and the city keeps dwindling their thumbs.

I much rather have a private investor spend a quarter of a billion in our city, INCREASE and actually CREATE a park in the area, that will actually have activities for the public.

This is a win/win for the city. Enough with the political non-sense, build our park and put it to use.
Can't wait to have a picnic in a new park, and watch a soccer game at a beautiful new stadium.


Soooo they want the land so they can get a contract to make a ton of money?

Miami Resident

^ They want the land to build a park, pay rent, build a stadium, pay taxes, and make money.

I rather that, than have a piece of prime property sitting there doing nothing but costing us taxes. It's been 20 years and the city still is nowhere near this great "park" that we've been promised.

Give them the land, let them build on it, pay taxes, pay rent, and give the city a new park and a new stadium.

ed jenkins

The citizens have long ago they want no more of their property or money confiscated from them by government to be used for the benefit of sports team owners or any other private businesses. They do not want to see any of their land sold or leased for below market value.

In addition while the citizens welcome any business into their business friendly state, they warn these prospective team owners that this country has no interest in the primitive game of soccer and has developed more advanced games such as football more than a century ago since they were bored with the dull game of soccer.

Miami Resident

Ed Jenkins, still living in the 1960's

Facts on soccer:

#1 Sport in popularity from 3-12 year olds
#2 Sport in popularity from 12-17 year olds
The United States has the HIGHEST number of tickets sold for the 2014 World Cup IN THE WORLD
The United States has paid the HIGHEST rights fees IN THE WORLD to broadcast the World Cup
MLS is now ahead of both the NBA and the NHL in attendance
MLS is now a TOP TEN LEAGUE IN THE WORLD in attendance at matches
MLS just signed a new $90 million annual broadcast deal
LIGA MX draws the highest TV ratings of any league IN THE UNITED STATES, surpassing the NFL, MLB and NBA

But yea, nobody cares about the primitive game of soccer. It's ok though, Ed and his fellow old crabby "soccer is a commie game" cohorts will be dead soon enough. It's a brave new world out there.

And the citizens will have the right to vote in the referendum, I cannot wait to vote YES to the stadium and the park in downtown. Finally we get some use out of that land!


not really a soccer fan, but I think the stadium is good for our city - look, our politicians are morons and this is really our only chance at changing this shitty land into a nice park (you know, like what we've been promised for ages now). Beckham's teams' heads seem to be in the right place, unlike the shady opposition groups who keep going against him


The stadium would be world-class class improvement.

There is lack of world-class consistency with regards to the majority of Miami citizen who are ignorant as hell, and have little/no appreciation for the arts and museums that are present.

The youth of Miami are more interested in sports, and music. A soccer stadium/franchise would be of the utmost benefit in this Miami.

I am in a small majority who appreciates the arts/museums more than sports arenas/stadiums.

Also, to oppose Beckham's idea of a waterfront stadium that will take up only a lot of space you greedy people don't want to give up, will also deprive the youth of Miami great potential to become soccer players, affording them guarantee escape from poverty

You can't force a majority of people to be intellectuals. The majority appreciate sports more. You all know that.

Don't know what Manny Diaz' problem is, but he was never a very bright person in my opinion.

Don't like Cuban separatists. We are a diverse city, with a continually growing diverse people. Denying Beckham United the chance to be a part of that diversity would appear prejudice to me, and unjust.


Why are you so jealous of David Beckham?

We already have parks and museums, etc. in Miami. We can also easily create space or new parks etc.ere elsewhere, to improve our city.

You should know that Mr. Beckham does not have as many choices as you do; The waterfront is necessary to ensure success, whereas museums/parks/etc. are not as necessary in same location. You are being unnecessarily difficult and greedy by not wanting to give the "boat slip" space that will also be a beautiful park.

You should also know that Mr. Beckham'a franchise would be a great asset, and not a liability to Miami, helping tourism grow, and our economy when it creates new places of employment.

It will also give the youth of today who have dreams of making it big financially, and successful, HOPE.

Don't like your selfish greed.

Personally, don't need a park in that area. Downtown, Miami looks fabulous without the long-awaited parks you have promised Miamians.

I like the diversity. I welcome the great Brit
ish former soccer icon's soccer franchise here in Miami, and want the waterfront for his stadium.

Disappointed in your idiotic, senseless, thoughtless excuses to prevent something far greater than you could ever envision: A legacy of greatness that would inspire so many.

You should be greatful that Beckham chose Miami.

Miami SportsFan

I cannot understand why these soccer-hater types have this tendency to feel vey insecure whenever the sport is brought up in a conversation..
Utter the word "soccer" and watch them get their panties in a bunch. It is truly funny to watch.

Statements such as... "the greatest game in the world", and, "the most popular sport on the planet" seem to rile them up.
What pettiness.

I vote yes

I am curious. How much of taxpayer money went to paying the architects of Miami 21? Why did they support spending millions upon millions of taxpayer money to build an art museum and a museum of science on the "precious" waterfront land when we already had one built inland? I seriously hope it wasn't so there would be no baseball stadium built there instead. Seems like a waste of taxpayer money to me. They also referred to their strong opposition for the same reasons that a comparable proposal to build a baseball stadium was rejected in 2000, seems to me that this is anything but a comparable proposal. The baseball stadium proposal was to be paid for by the public compared to the soccer stadium being paid for by private financing and will increase the amount of greenspace and waterfront access. More waste of money that these architects and planners were paid millions upon millions for a facade to get voters to make them even more wealthier. Miami politics as usual. Let's not forget that Miami 21 was designed by these aristocrats for the purpose of changing our Zoning (Miami 21 Zoning Code), Economic Development, Historic Preservation, Parks and Open Spaces, Arts and Culture, and Transportation. If you haven't noticed sports isn't listed because sports is considered entertainment and included in the Arts and Culture section. Vote YES for a soccer stadium and NO to the aristocrats wasting our money and our time.


Daniel Berger

Hilarious attempts at justifying a land giveaway for another shopping mall / stadium/ casino next to Bayside and across the street from a soon to be built three block mega pedestrian mall. This will compete with Coconut Grove and other shopping all over town. All of the comments seem to be written by the same person. Try harder.


Yea for soccer stadium at boat slip waterfront.

Nea for wasting more of tax payer dollars on something that will look pretty but do nothing for our economy.


Corrupt politician Manny Diaz will never be governor.

But I would vote for David Beckham as governor of Florida.


People in glass houses should never throw stones.
Speaking of stoning, wasn't there a recent barbaric stoning of another Pakistani? Yeah, there was. Horrid.
We stone and stone and stone, til we're all stoned and where does that get us all? In a blurred state of intoxication. I can't walk straight. I can't see straight. My mind is fuzzy. Can't go on this way, all of us being so stoned all the time.
Can't drive when we're stoned, but we find ways to throw stones many times, at others especially. Imperfect as we all are.
Stones are pretty heavy. They can really weigh people down. I can't take it any longer.
Yes, to soccer stadium at boat slip.


You dirty politicians better Beckham not to campaign in places like lierty city and overtown for votes. They are dangerous trigger-happy neighborhoods. Look up the statistics and you will see that I am right.

Be careful campaigning in those hoods. Best to get a policeman handing out flyers.

Good luck man.


Liberty City and Overtown are too dagerous to campaign at
Bet you vain politicians didn't tell Beckham that.


Everybody where I bartend is for Beckham United. I also know that a lot of restaurants and places nearby are also excited about David Beckham's soccer team franchise. He won all the females, and homos here. Haha
You might as well give him the boat slip.

ed jenkins

The citizens have already voiced their opinion and want no more of their money used for the benefit of private business owners. This does not prevent a project from happening as there will be plenty of private capital available for viable projects.

Some wise people have suggested that this business venture use stadiums that local high school football teams play in which should hold more than enough people that show up to these events which have extremely limited interest and appeal to americans which were bored with this dull sport more than a century ago and invented more advanced sports to replaced this primitive game. Beyond that the FIU football stadium and Dolphins stadium are other potential venues which should allow this team's owner to avoid having to spend his massive amounts of money on a venture with little chance of success.


Oh Eddie honey, take two viagras, and a course in politics.


Stop censoring my comments. I have a right to voice my opinions too.

Miami Resident

Right Ed, because billionaires spend $250 million on ventures with little chance of success. Hence why you're a billionaire and Beckham/Claure are poor bums trolling a local political blog spewing nonsense.

InterMiami Afc


Does Miami have the creativity, the vision, and the good old fashioned American ingenuity to do it better??

Of course. Miami, let's be S.M.A.R.T. and complete the Sports, Museums, Arts, Restaurants, and Tourism District of Downtown Miami Bay with a crowning jewel of the David Beckham-proposed Museum Park & Stadium for our Major League Soccer (MLS) team and for all of the people of the City of Miami and beyond!!!

Here are some waterside city stadiums from around the world (Most, if not all, enhance and improve the surrounding areas and landscapes, creating green space and publicly usable areas, as well as local sources of great pride):

1) Vicente Calderon Stadium (Spain): http://www.abc.es/Media/201203/26/vicente-calderon-estadio--644x362.JPG

2) Petrovsky Stadium (Russia): http://fstadium.com/images/europe/russia/Petrovsky/04.jpg

3) Estadio Gigante de Arroyito (Argentina): http://futbolmania12.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/gigante-de-arroyito.jpg

4) Craven Cottage (England): http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5024/5725670750_90bc6b6d24_b.jpg

5) Aker Stadion (Norway): http://www.info-stades.fr/forum/ressources/image/51345

6) Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia (Italy): http://www.stades-spectateurs.com/images/italie/como/stadio-giuseppe-sinigaglia-como-1.jpg

7) Stade Marcel-Saupin (France): http://www.lenouveaumalakoff.com/files/grdes-projet/stademarcelsaupin460.jpg

8) PPL Park (United States, Philadelphia): https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5108/5686226888_47f221f42c_z.jpg

And there are many more examples throughout the world. Why can't we do it?.... WE CAN DO IT. And we can do it better than anywhere else in the world.

SUPPORT GoalMiami (https://www.facebook.com/goalmiami), the Southern Legion MLS Supporters Group, and David Beckham (THE most popular and iconic soccer/futbol player of our generation), Marcelo Claure, and the other investors willing to invest in OUR DOWNTOWN, OUR TEAM, OUR COMMUNITY in this once in a generation opportunity to do this, and do this right!!


ed jenkins

The citizens have never opposed individuals investing their own money into 100% private financed projects including public lands that are sold or leased at market rates. When some say lets do this or that the citizens say go ahead but do not confiscate more of taxpayers money to do so.

There are some irrational individuals who claim that a stadium for soccer needs to be on the water which makes no sense to the citizens because unless this primitive game has changed in recent years it is still played on a grass field and not in the water. Otherwise the citizens can offer up the former marine stadium as a location for this game now needing water. There are many grass field stadiums which can be used for this quixotic venture.

Miami Resident

Ed Jenkins, the voice of the citizens...

Last time I checked, I'm a citizen, I love this "primitive game", I live downtown, and I can't wait for that land to actually be turned into a real park.

The citizens will get a change to vote in November. Ed Jenkins will vote no, I will vote yes, and we will cancel each other out. Now the rest of the voters get to decide.





AESTHETICS: Let's be realistic: People like being around beauty. Beauty has drawing power. As a mama,I wouldn't mind my teenagers going to a sports arena at a beautiful waterfront locale, yet, I'd worry if this location was at a dangerous place.

EASE OF TRAVEL: Need I say more.

FOOD: We need to be by food. We want restaurants, and food courts, not only at a sports arena, buy outside to.

Some of the reasons waterfront location is desired by so many.



"Redemption song"

Vote yes for a soccer stadium at the boat slip and redeem yourselves from evil corruption.

Respect waterfront parks

Save Museum Park. No 100' tall massive concrete structure. Keep it green.

sean Wolfington

Put the stadium inland because fans won't even see the water but the giant cement stadium will block water views, kill the new museum park and will eclipse the beautiful new museums. All the city planners and architects are completely against this plan because it doesn't make sense

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