Key vote paves way for new Miami show site

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Miami will spend as much as $16 million during the next year to upgrade the grounds outside the Miami Marine Stadium and host the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key in early 2016.

Commissioners voted today to authorize a bond issue to pay for improvements to a 15-acre area outside the waterfront stadium, including seven undeveloped acres to the east of the shuttered venue that will be paved, lined with utilities and covered with artificial turf.

They also approved a license agreement with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which owns the boat show, that will pay the city $1.1 million a year in rent and half of the concessions and parking sales.

Commissioners voted unanimously on the boat show deal and stadium grounds upgrades despite criticisms from the village of Key Biscayne that the boat show agreement was “rushed” and could clog the Rickenbacker Causeway with traffic.

Some also noted that the deal negotiated with the NMMA has no length and could potentially leave the city to finance a $16 million facility without an anchor tenant.

“At this point, I’m willing to take the risk,” Commissioner Francis Suarez told the Miami Herald.

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