NMMA: Scuttled deal won’t affect new Miami show site plans

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A collapsed deal that would have assigned ownership of the historic Miami Marine Stadium to a non-profit group won’t affect plans for the Miami International Boat Show to take place there in 2016 and 2017.

That’s according to show organizer and owner the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which tells Trade Only Today that the broken $121 million plan to rehab the stadium just means the show will have different landlords.

“The only thing that changed yesterday was that, instead of having Friends of the Stadium [non-profit group] as our landlord, our landlord would be the city of Miami,” NMMA vice president of boat shows Cathy Rick-Joule told Trade Only Today on Friday.

“This has no impact on the boat show plans,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said. “The city of Miami remains committed to bringing the Miami International Boat Show to Miami Marine Stadium in 2016.”

The plan to rehabilitate the iconic stadium and turn the surrounding area into a maritime complex, announced two weeks ago, crumbled Thursday after Miami officials balked at a privately funded proposal, according to the Miami Herald.

City officials said at that time they’d rather pursue their own plan, even if it meant spending millions in public dollars, the article said.

City commissioners could have voted Thursday to formally negotiate a potential 98-year lease for the stadium and two dozen surrounding waterfront acres with the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium. The non-profit group — fronted by former pop star Gloria Estefan — held a press conference with Dammrich and Rick-Joule announcing they’d secured financing.

A team of private partners included a financier who had just filed for personal bankruptcy. Civic groups and the village of Key Biscayne had also raised concerns about a proposed commercial complex with a 125,000-square-foot expo center and a 280-slip dry-dock storage facility.

“We are really looking forward to working with members of Key Biscayne and the municipality because we want to be good neighbors,” Rick-Joule said.

The change in plans has made it apparent how committed the city of Miami is to rehabilitating the stadium and hosting the boat show for 2016 and 2017, Rick-Joule said. “Through this process we have really learned how strong their support is.”

However, securing public funding for such projects can be tough. The stadium, which was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in the 1990s, languishes still today.

“You always have concerns, down to the smallest details in life,” Rick-Joule said. “I just feel that the assurance that’s been provided for us, the city is obviously prepared to do what they have to do. They must have a plan for where their funding will be coming from because of how committed they are to this. I have a feeling they’ve already positioned themselves, and we’ll learn more about that in the coming week.”


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