Miami drops plan to restore Marine Stadium

City officials to seek new proposal for venue's redevelopment

Nov.November 21, 2014 01:30 PM

The $121 million plan to redevelop the abandoned Miami Marine Stadium was scuttled Thursday.

The Daily Business Review reported the proposal from nonprofit Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium collapsed hours before it was up for consideration by the City Commission. The 6,566-seat stadium opened in 1963 on Virginia Key and has been closed since 1992 after suffering heavy damage from Hurricane Andrew. With singer Gloria Estefan as its face, the Friends group crafted a proposal to create a 125,000-square-foot convention center and boat storage facility. The Miami International Boat Show recently announced the stadium would be its new venue in 2016 and 2017.

However, the proposal was criticized for its environmental impact on the surrounding area. Corporate partner Expo-Miami Inc also faced scrutiny after it was revealed that Federico Coupe, the company’s vice president and CFO, filed for personal bankruptcy in October. “I don’t know how they surmount the confidence gap,” said Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez. “How can you not research a hundred-plus-million-dollar deal?”

A 2012 plan would give the Friends group a long-term lease at the stadium if they demonstrated the financial ability to restore and maintain it. The plan would have allowed the Friends to sublease parts of the property for commercial interests to create a revenue stream for maintenance. The subleases could be issued without bids, which drew criticism. Commissioners will still hear proposals from the Friends group, although Suarez suggested that the city could also pursue a city-backed trust to run the stadium, similar to Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. [Daily Business Review]Chris Guanche


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