Thursday May 22nd, 2014

Building that flashy 25,000-seat MLS stadium on PortMiami property across the Intracoastal Waterway from downtown Miami won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean David Beckham lacks a new plan to get his potential MLS team into a potential new downtown stadium.

Even if he has to fill in water to do it.

On Thursday, the global soccer icon announced a plan to turn a downtown deep-water boat slip next to AmericanAirlines Arena, the home of the Miami Heat, into his downtown stadium home.

This idea already has more political favor than the PortMiami proposal, which was officially scuttled this week by Miami-Dade County commissioners, a final blow to a dreamy plan.

While we may no longer get the sweeping open and airy stadium concept adjacent to a grand development and entertainment plaza designed by sports design firm 360 Architecture and Miami’s Arquitectonica on the port’s property, the same designers have instead moved toward a 20,000-seat building — design details prove sparse for now — for a water site tucked quite cozy up to the waterfront arena and Museum Park, including Perez Art Museum to the north.

In order for building to happen, Beckham’s team would need to fill in the city-owned boat slip — likely a $20 million cost — and take over four acres of the county-owned property to the north that has long been earmarked for a park. The new stadium plan has the venue, with seats on all sides, running parallel to Biscayne Boulevard and fresh park connections on three sides. Beckham has pledged to pay for the project privately and lease the space from the government.

The drawings for the PortMiami site included views of the downtown skyline from within the stadium with a dipping seating bowl at one corner with a European style roof covering just the fans. There’ll be no need for such elegance now, even if the stadium still sits close the water. Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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