Shipping alliance opposes Beckham's Miami arena plan

Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:58pm EDT
 
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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - An alliance of shipping interests and a billionaire car dealer launched a newspaper ad on Monday protesting retired English soccer star David Beckham's plans for a soccer arena at the port of Miami, saying it threatens the city's plans to capitalize on the expansion of the Panama Canal.

"We cannot jeopardize well-paying jobs, like crane operators, longshore workers, and mechanics, for low-paying stadium jobs, such as concession sales," the Miami Seaport Alliance said in a full-page ad that ran in the Miami Herald and its sister Spanish-language paper, El Nuevo Herald.

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.

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 (14.5-hectare) space would cost about $200 million and include shops, hotels and offices connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge.

"This is one of four sites under consideration, there's nothing concrete, there's no recommendation pending," Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on Monday.

The port's master plan calls for the development of more than 7 million square feet (650,000 square meters) 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.   Continued...

 
Florida's Senate President-designate Andy Gardiner, Republican of Orlando, talks with former England soccer player David Beckham (C) and Mark Abbott, president and deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer during a visit to the state legislature in Tallahassee, Florida March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Bill Cotterell