To crowbar a stadium into the land in Overtown, a few blocks from I-95 and the Miami River, the Beckham group would not build any parking. Instead, fans would have to walk from lots as much as 15 minutes away, or from one of the three nearby commuter rail stations.
That may be an urban plannerâs dream, and it fits Garberâs vision of soccer teams in downtown locations, but it appears to be a naÃ¯ve assumption to residents of Miami, where the heat can be oppressive, rain storms can strike at any time and driving is a way of life.
âI want Beckham to be in the league, and heâs the guy who can make Miami work,â said one M.L.S. owner who asked not to be named because the vote on the team had not taken place. âBut when we sit in the room, thatâs what we talk about.â
Residents of the adjacent Spring Garden neighborhood also worry about traffic and noise spilling into their quiet residential enclave, and fear that concerts and other events will fill the stadium on nights when the team isnât playing.
âThe soccer people will tell you there will only be 15 games a year, but we think this is a ruse for concerts, and we donât want it in our backyard,â said Ernest Martin, a former president of the Spring Garden Civic Association. âItâs all part of dumping undesirable urban projects into Overtown.â
Leiweke, who is steering the stadium project for the Beckham group, is undeterred. No tax dollars are being spent on the stadium, he said, and he suggested that fans, particularly the younger ones the team and the league want to attract, would be comfortable ditching their cars and marching to games from nearby bars and restaurants.
And while Overtown remains rough around the edges, Leiweke pointed to the new 25,500-seat stadium that was built in a similar neighborhood in Orlando, and noted that the M.L.S. team that calls it home, Orlando City S.C., has played to…