Renderings were released this morning for David Beckham's proposed MLS Stadium at PortMiami, sending clear signals to city officials that this is, indeed, their preferred site for development. Images reveal a continuous swooping metal skin that acts as both façade and roof canopy, with steep grandstands similar to those found in European stadiums. While simple and clean, the preliminary design by Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture of Kansas City reads a bit like a dumbed-down version of Zaha Hadid's Qatar stadium. Nonetheless, the undulating skin allows for clear views to downtown and, perhaps more importantly, for cross-ventilation from southeastern breezes. Facing the stadium are a series of open terraces and a pedestrian plaza likened to Rome's "Spanish Steps" that would be lined with dining and retail establishments, as well as a swanky year-round nightclub.
The released images also show the implied development of ancillary buildings – an estimated 1 million square-feet of additional commercial development, perhaps hotel and retail. While Beckham's group has stated that they would not want to build out the surrounding projects and prefer that county land remain open to competitive bidding, they would be willing to serve as "master developers" – essentially charging the county a fee to come up with a plan. This provides an alternative to the port's existing plan to build 7 million square-feet of new office space – something the group believes would only hurt downtown's already high office vacancy rates.
The Beckham group's biggest hurdle – providing parking for up to 5,000 cars – is still unresolved. Despite an expectation that 15% of fans will arrive via Metrorail or Metromover, city officials remain concerned that traffic to the port will interfere with port operations. While most games would be held at night and would not overlap with cruise ship arrivals and boarding, the team would have to work its schedule around the Miami Heat, who play at the neighboring American Airlines Arena. Even if the city approved the plan, Beckham's team cannot afford to pay for a new garage on their own. They would potentially have to strike a deal with Royal Caribbean, which has publicly opposed the development of the stadium adjacent to its company headquarters.
Regardless of any design-based opinions, it's hard to argue that a new stadium within walking distance of Downtown, Biscayne Boulevard, Museum Park, and the American Airlines Arena could ever hurt Downtown growth or slow down the influx of new residents to the City core. Sure, a second urban arena might cause some additional traffic every once in a while (god help us), but would it really be so bad?—Margina Demmer
· Beckham's soccer stadium coverage [Curbed Miami]
· David Beckham's big project: design for PortMiami soccer stadium revealed [Herald]