News: Beckham Backlash!

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Businesses Take Out Newspaper Ads Opposing Football Star’s Plans for 25,000-seater Stadium in Port of Miami.

David Beckham is facing a huge backlash against his plans for a 25,000-seater soccer stadium in Miami.

article-2604923-1D1FA0B900000578-655_634x336An alliance of shipping businesses and a billionaire car dealer have launched a campaign protesting the football star’s venue, which would be situated at the Port of Miami, and include a restaurant and a nightclub.

The consortium, which publicized their opposition in a full-page ad in the Miami Herald, said if given the green light, it would threaten the city’s plans to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal.

The as-yet-unnamed stadium would be paid for by Beckham and his partners, and the venue would host 17 MLS games, as well as additional post-season games, soccer friendlies, and other entertainment.

In the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, the Miami Seaport Alliance told Beckham: ‘We cannot jeopardize well-paying jobs, like crane operators, longshore workers, and mechanics, for low-paying stadium jobs, such as concession sales.’

David Beckham, center, poses with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, left, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez

David Beckham, center, poses with MLS Commissioner Don Garber, left, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez

The group, led by John Fox, who has retired as Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s head of governmental affairs, includes two chapters of the International Longshoremen’s Association and two stevedore companies, whose workers load and unload ships, along with car dealer Norman Braman, the one-time owner of Philadelphia Eagles.

‘There are plenty of other places for the stadium to be,’ Braman said.

Beckham last month unveiled detailed plans for a 25,000-seat waterfront stadium on the island port with sweeping views of downtown Miami.

Development of the 36-acre space would cost about $200 million and include shops, hotels and offices connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge.

The port is one of four potential areas for the new stadium, which Beckham’s team say will create a new destination for Miami residents.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said: ‘There’s nothing concrete, there’s no recommendation pending.’

article-2604923-1C873B2E00000578-469_634x357The port’s master plan calls for the development of more than 7million square feet of convention, hotel and office space on the same site.

Before Monday’s ad, only Royal Caribbean, which is headquartered at the port, has come out publicly against Beckham’s plan.

Neisen Kasdin, an attorney for Akerman Senterfitt and adviser for the Beckham group, said: ‘The plan doesn’t interfere with port operations. It will likely generate more revenue for the port in the shorter term than other concepts that have been discussed.”

Yet a growing list of opponents say a stadium would jeopardize Miami’s aspiration of becoming a more attractive choice for global shippers looking to distribute goods to the US market.

“There are plenty of other places for the stadium to be,” Braman said in a telephone interview.

Miami officials hope the port’s short distance from the Panama Canal, as well as $2 billion of planned infrastructure upgrades, including cranes to unload the ships and a $1 billion tunnel connecting the port to major highways, will increase its appeal.

Neither Braman nor Fox would say who paid for the two ads in Monday’s paper.

“I haven’t given any dollars yet but I would if asked,” Braman added.

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