Don’t put the soccer stadium at the port

 

A Major League League Soccer soccer team in Miami-Dade County is a winning goal for our community. However the idea of locating this stadium on port of Miami property should be red carded.

The port's master plan is an excellent “blueprint” to create much needed revenue generating commercial development. The plan is complementary to the existing cargo and cruise operations at the port. The commercial development site is an ideal location to attract commercial development. Developed properly this could become some of the most valuable land in Florida. What better location to have marine-related commercial development than on a site in the most important port in the state ?

Officials deciding where to locate the stadium should consider the long-term implications of a soccer stadium on the port of Miami property designated for commercial development. When the airport is downsizing the proposed airport city project to ensure adequate future space for aviation-related activities, the seaport is being pressured to do just the opposite.

The seaport and its proposed commercial development cannot be located in any area other than the port itself. Even an inland port would not provide the level of revenue producing development envisioned by its master plan. The stadium could be located in other areas of the county without adversely impacting the financial viability of the seaport. Clearly there must be other viable locations where the soccer stadium could be located.

The opposition by certain commercial interests in Miami to development at the port is merely not wanting competition to proposed developments downtown. Our public officials, however, must consider the long-term benefits to the financial viability of the port as opposed to the financial interests of the commercial developers and brokers who wish to lessen potential competition from the Port. If the airport, seaport and business developers remain successful there should be opportunity for all.

Decision-makers should take into consideration the adverse impacts that locating a soccer stadium on port property will have on it's cargo and cruise operations. I cannot believe cruise lines that sail out of the Port of Miami are enamored with the potential of 25,000 soccer fans converging on the port as they are trying to offload and load on to their ships thousands and thousands of cruise passengers almost every day of the week.

Cruise ships and cargo can easily move to other ports that would love to have the activity currently at the Port of Miami. The port of Miami and the airport are the two economic engines that drive the economy of Miami-Dade County It is very important to ensure that these two economic engines retain their financial viability.

It is inconceivable that we just spent over $1 billion constructing a port tunnel to reduce traffic and congestion at the port that we are now proposing to site a soccer stadium there that would do just the opposite — attracting thousands and thousands of fans into that area and creating a traffic nightmare.

It is also ironic that the same individuals that are representing and lobbying on behalf of the soccer stadium are those that also represented Genting and their proposed mega casino in the same area downtown. I assume that these folks have either not considered what the traffic implications will be for these mega-developments all within the same area downtown or their clients are willing to develop and pay for the necessary roadway, parking and mass transit improvements they will require.

Let’s not repeat the same mistake of building a terrific facility such as the performing arts center without the appropriate parking and roadway improvements such a center required.

If the powers that be that are lobbying on behalf of locating the soccer stadium at the Port of Miami prove to be successful, it will be up to the County Commission to demand that the revenue to the port the stadium will provide will equal or exceed the projected revenue that would have been generated by the level of commercial development envisioned in the current port master plan.

If the appraisals utilize an “income approach,” it must be calculated to provide for comparable revenue escalators to what would have been realized from the commercial development during the length of the stadium lease. If a “comparable sale” appraisal is utilized, I would submit the closest comparable sale is what Genting paid for the former Miami Herald property, and that’s what should be used as the basis of the revenue generation that should be provided to the port

Lets welcome MLS to Miami-Dade County but not at the Port of Miami.

Frank Nero, a business consultant, is the former longtime CEO of the Beacon Council.

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