No plans to add parking at Miami MLS stadium, mayor says
MIAMI -- There are no plans to add parking around the potential stadium site for Miami's MLS expansion team, Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez said on Monday.
A lack of parking raised concerns when stadium plans were unveiled in May, and in a news conference following the official announcement of Miami as an MLS city, Gimenez said fans will be able to rely on public transportation options and parking already near the site in the Overtown neighborhood -- if that site is finalized.
"At that particular site, even though it doesn't have parking on-site, it has thousands of parking sites or parking spots within two or three blocks of it," Gimenez said.
"Also at that particular site, there is a railroad that is being built, our grand central station will be about four blocks from that. So that is a way for people from Palm Beach or Fort Lauderdale to come on Bright Line or Tri-Rail, because Tri-Rail comes downtown too, get off and either take a trolley or walk to the stadium."
Gimenez said the Miami ownership group -- which includes David Beckham, local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son and CEO Marcelo Claure, and entertainment mogul Simon Fuller -- may consider adding parking as it applies for zoning at the site.
The mayor also pointed out that the ownership group is awaiting the result of a lawsuit appeal for the final parcel of land that will complete the Overtown site.
Fans will also have access to bus lines that run from the Brickell neighborhood, and the mayor encouraged the team to look into a process for drop-off and pickup zones for driving services like Uber and Lyft.
The Miami stadium would not be the only venue in MLS that does not have designated parking. Orlando City's downtown stadium does not have on-site parking, nor will D.C. United's new stadium, Audi Field, which is set to open this summer.
Beckham said on Monday the hope is for the stadium to open in time for the 2021 season, giving the franchise time to sort out any potential issues.
The team is aiming to begin play in 2020 in a temporary venue, but MLS commissioner Don Garber said no temporary venue has yet been selected or proposed.
Monday's announcement was the culmination of a four-year process in which the league has sought to bring a team to South Florida. In 2014, Beckham used his contracted option to purchase the rights to an MLS franchise for around $25 million -- a fraction of the current expansion cost -- and announced he would launch a team in Miami.
Issues finding a stadium site delayed the franchise from being approved, and Garber said on Monday the ownership group also needed to find local investors with the capital to back a Miami franchise.
Those pieces finally fell into place over the last year, and now the process begins to put a team on the field and finalize its permanent home in the city.