Thursday, March 08, 2007

Downtown Miami Baseball Stadium Redux

Okay, so now the county commission is having second thoughts about the latest proposed site for the downtown Miami baseball stadium next to I-95 and Government Center. They think there isn't enough room and worry about fallout from taking land promised for a Children's Courthouse and a magnet high school teaching police science. The commission now wants to move the stadium out to the Orange Bowl. MVB believes if they kept the Orange Bowl and the stadiums were already connected to MetroRail, it would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, MetroRail doesn't connect to the Orange Bowl (or to anything else that would justify its expense and existence). To make this plan feasible, it needs a mass transit feed that will encourage fans to attend games from all parts of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Which brings us back to MVB's Miami Megaplex proposal and its 5 part solution to the problem:
  1. It splits the enormous cost of building the stadium further by bringing in at least another private party,
  2. Attaches to an existing MetroRail station,
  3. Saves the Miami Arena,
  4. Reclaims public streets to build the baseball stadium without sacrificing limited downtown public land
  5. Gives immediate access to the stadium for people living in Broward and Palm Beach via the FEC tracks.

The hotel component fronting the outfield and supporting the enclosed roof is connected to the Miami Arena. It would lease space as needed from the Miami Arena for conventions and from the city/county for added space or for special events ranging from tractor pulls to concerts. During these kinds of events, rooms with balconies fronting the stadium would command top dollar. Since Disney announced a few weeks ago that it is branching out into free-standing hotels and looking for smaller venues to build micro-tourist attractions, this might be a good place to start. (This also fits in nicely with another MVB proposal that links Miami to Miami Beach with a Disney monorail. That proposal gives Disney land on both sides of the bay to build whatever they want to in exchange for sharing the costs of constructing and running the monorail, i.e., Disney hotels anchoring each end with one of the hotels on Watson Island connected to its own dock for its cruise ships.)

Our proposal sits on top of an existing MetroRail station. There is no need to waste time and millions of dollars to retrofit the Orange Bowl with an elevated rail system.

Our proposal revitalizes the Miami Arena by giving it more options to earn revenue through the symbiotic relationship between it, MLB and the hotel.

Our proposal offers street closures instead of major public land swaps.

Our proposal helps insure success for all parties because it offers a location that is within a short walk from the FEC railroad tracks making a trip down from Palm Beach and Broward counties another no-brainer.

Finally, the bigger vision of this proposal is landing the Summer Olympic Games. With the American Airlines Arena a couple of blocks away from the Miami Megaplex, its conceivable that one could catch various indoor events in the arenas such as gymnastics and basketball and outdoor events such as baseball in the stadium just by walking around downtown. Opening and closing ceremonies could take place in the enclosed stadium with a parade beginning on Biscayne Boulevard. If another one of our ideas becomes reality, thousands of people could watch the surfing events at Miami's downtown outdoor surf pool. Who knows, maybe by then MetroRail will finally connect to Joe Robbie stadium and you'll be able to catch an Olympic soccer game without ever getting into your car.

Photos are of Seoul Stadium designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners. They can be found on the Sports Venue Technology site.
"Grand Central Station of the American Pastime:" MVB proposed site post shows link to mass transit.

UpDate (7/27/08): Glenn Straub, owner of the Miami Arena, announces he will tear it down to build a baseball stadium-- if he can strike a deal with the City of Miami and the Florida Marlins. Part of the deal he wants is to gain title to the Orange Bowl site (now torn down) to build affordable housing. Initial reaction from the Marlins and the city: not interested. Typical. And surprising since at one time the Marlins insisted on a downtown site.

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