While the idea of building a sports stadium in downtown would have been ludicrous ten years ago, Beckham’s group has been extremely enthusiastic about laying their roots in Miami’s urban core since they first announced their plans. The proof is in the pudding: Downtown’s revival is not only in full swing, but stronger than ever.
The group always intended to pick an urban backdrop for Beckham’s new team. “Soccer is an urban game. David’s tradition is that of the great European soccer venues, and the energy of the game begins outside,” John Alschuler, Beckham’s New York-based real-estate advisor, told the Miami Herald. “We want to create a place of energy and passion,” and of all the urban location across the country, their number one choice was downtown Miami.
The desire to bring an MLS franchise to Miami’s urban core proves that downtown is now an international destination. The move validates the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s determination to tell the world – even in tough times – that Miami is and will remain open for business, serious business. In the last decade, the number of people living downtown has doubled and tourists flock to the mainland. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s can’t wait to open flagship stores downtown and some of the best restaurants in the world are chomping at the bit for space downtown.
Plans for the stadium go beyond plopping down a “pitch” and hoping for the best. They underline the evolution that’s been taking place in our urban core and the potential that it still has. For example, Beckham’s plan envisions a footbridge in the form of a linear park, so spectators could park in downtown and come to a game on foot.
So, regardless of whether or not Beckham’s proposal is approved, the announcement is a major win for downtown Miami. It proves that the Beckham’s of the world want to be here, and the efforts of developers, planners and politicians are paying off. The urban core today is thriving and it is only going to keep getting better.