Once destined for the wrecking ball, the legendary Miami Marine Stadium is now on a path to restoration. Visitors and residents alike may have access to what may be the greatest outdoor entertainment venue in tn the United States. Friends of Miami Marine Stadium (www.marinestadium.org), a not for profit organization will be presenting shortly to the City of Miami a plan to restore the Stadium.
The Miami Marine Stadiumis a 6,500 seat grandstand, was built in 1963 and located on Virginia Key. It is an iconic Landmark which sits is part of the Marine Stadium Basin which was designed for boat racing and dredged out at when the Stadium was built. The stadium was designed by architect Hilario Candela, a young, 28 year old, Cuban architect, educated at Georgia Tech. The initial cost of the Stadium and Basin, was $2 million. When it was built, the origami like folded plate roof was the largest span of cantilevered concrete in the world.
During its years of operation (1963-1992), the Stadium hosted many events such as powerboat races, symphony and rock concerts, Easter services, presidential appearances, talk shows and countless numbers of community events. Performers would play on a floating stage anchored just a few feet from the Marine Stadium. Dozens—sometimes hundreds of boats-would surround the stage to create one of the most unique entertaintment environments to be found anywhere. Performers at the Marine Stadium included The Who, Ray Charles, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Jimmy Buffett, and many more.
The Stadium was shuttered after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (it was never damaged) and has set vacant ever since.
In 2008, The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium was organized to actively promote retention and restoration of this remarkable building.
Since that time, much progress has been made. In October of 2008, the Miami Marine Stadium was designated historic by the City’s Historic Preservation Board. The City’s Master Plan for Virginia Key, approved in July of 2010 makes the Marine Stadium one of the key components of the plan. The Stadium is also a key priority for Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Meanwhile, the Stadium has generated significant national interest. The Marine Stadium was named to the National Trust For Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered List” (2009) and the World Monuments Fund Watch List (2010). Jimmy Buffett cut a video endorsement and the Miami Herald has written six editorials in support of restoration.
Given the challenging economic situation for government, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium is committed to restore and operate the Stadium without any funding from the City of Miami. The estimated $30 million restoration cost will be funded through the sale of Historic Tax credits, $3 million from a Historic Preservation Bond fund of Miami Dade County, and a capital campaign. Plans are now being prepared to present to the City of Miami.
The Miami Marine Stadium will be a tremendous asset to Miami-a wonderful amenity for residents and an economic generator capable of hosting one of a kind events and spectacles. To learn more and join the email list, go to the website www.marinestadium.org.