The open-air stadium would be built in an area known as
PortMiami, which hosts the world's busiest cruise ship terminal.
Long-term plans for the island port have never included the
possibility of being home to a sports arena, port officials have
PortMiami Director Bill Johnson declined to comment on the stadium
"The important part for us is getting everybody on side, getting
everybody to realize why we want to bring the team here, and why we
want to have the stadium in a certain place," Beckham told reporters
Royal Caribbean Cruises, whose headquarters are located at the port,
has expressed concern about the proposed stadium, citing traffic
concerns and its own plans to develop the land the Beckham group
hopes to lease for the stadium.
"We have shared our serious reservations about the suitability of
PortMiami as a location for a stadium," Cynthia Martinez, Royal
Caribbean's director for global corporate communications, wrote in
an e-mail on Monday.
Development of the 36-acre (14.5 hectare) stadium site would cost
about $200 million and include shops, hotels and offices connected
to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge, according to John Alschuler,
Beckham's New York-based real-estate adviser.
Beckham's group is not looking for public financing, but must
negotiate site plans with Miami-Dade County.
"The funding is in place," Alschuler told reporters. "The goal is to
have a team playing by 2016."
[to top of second column]
Since Beckham signaled interest in establishing a Major League
Soccer team in Miami, the league has stressed the importance of
having a final stadium deal, along with a business plan, before it
will approve a new team.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star retired as a
player last May with a $25 million option in his MLS contract to
start a new franchise.
Beckham in February finalized an ownership group with "American Idol"
creator Simon Fuller and Bolivian-born billionaire Marcelo Claure,
founder of Miami-based Brightstar Corp, the world's largest wireless
distributor and the provider of global services to Apple Inc.
(Editing by Kevin Gray and Tom Brown)
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