Tuesday, 20 August 2013 19:52

Time Line of the Miami Marine Stadium

(Photo of Current State Courtesy of Rick Bravo)


1963: Marine Stadium constructed and basin dredged. The Stadium, which seats 6,500 people, is designed by Cuban born architect Hilario Candela. The man made basin-6,000 feet by 1,200 feet-is the length of the Washington Mall. The Stadium is built for a cost of $1 million; dredging the basin is another $1 million.


The land the Stadium is constructed on was originally County land. It was deeded to the City for the purpose of the Marine Stadium. The Deed has a reverter clause which states that in the event that the land is not used for a Marine Stadium-or related uses-then the property must revert back to the County.


1964-1992:Marine Stadium hosts many events. Originally designed for boat racing, the Stadium also features musical performances of every type, boxing, water shows, Easter sunrise services, campaign rallies, community events. During its last few years of operaton, the Stadium deteriorates as the City of Miami shows less and less interest in managing the facility.


Hurricane Andrew-1992: The City alleges that Hurricane Andrew damaged the facility and needs to be demolished. $1 million is requested from FEMA for that purpose. The insurance company commissions an engineering study by Simpson Gumpertz and Heger (SGH);the study shows that the Stadium suffered no damage from Hurricane Andrew and requires $2-3 million in repairs due to the lack of investment during the operating period of 1964-1992.


After the SGH study was made public, there was organized opposition to the demolition, and the City backed off and returned the money to FEMA.


1992-2007: The Marine Stadium remains shuttered and due to lack of security, it is vandalized and covered with graffiti. Various redevelopment plans-which usually involve demolition of the Stadium-are proposed.


June, 2007: The City unveils the first draft of a Master Plan for Virginia Key by the Planning Firm EDSA. The Marine Stadium is not on it. The 200 people in attendance at the community meeting unanimously and spontaneously ask the City to put the Marine Stadium back in the plan.


February. 2008: Friends of Marine Stadium is formed. The Friends group is an informal, all volunteer coalition of individuals and organizations under the administrative umbrella of Dade Heritage Trust-Miami Dade County’s foremost historic preservation organization. The goal of the group is to have the Stadium restored.


April, 2008: Friends of Marine Stadium has its first event, a fundraiser at the Miami Rowing Club held in conjunction with Team Row, a not for profit organization that seeks to promote rowing among the community’s youth. The event sells out (over 400 people attend) and the Stadium initiative receives coverage on the front page of the metro section of the Miami Herald.


July, 2008: Friends of Marine Stadium/Dade Heritage Trust proposes historic designation of the Marine Stadium to the City’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board. The Miami Herald writes its first editorial in favor of the Marine Stadium.


August, 2008: Friends of Marine Stadium debuts its website, www.marinestadium.org


August, 2008: EDSA unveils the latest draft of the Virginia Key Master Plan. This time, the Marine Stadium is included-although it is surrounded by many parking garages and other structures.


October, 2008: The City of Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board approves-unanimously-the historic designation of the Marine Stadium, the basin, and an envelope of land 100 feet east and west of the Marine Stadium-all the way forward to Rickenbacker Causeway.  The City of Miami administration appeals the designation of the basin and envelop of land-but allows the Stadium designation to stand.


Fall, 2008: Friends of Marine Stadium continues to build momentum. Local and national magazines and organizations endorse effort to restore Marine Stadium.


January, 2009: Friends of Marine Stadium hosts an event “the future of Miami Marine Stadium”. 15 promoters and event organizations discuss their plans to use the Stadium. The Miami Dragon Boat Club provides dragon boat races during intermission. 180 people attend.


April, 2009: The Marine Stadium is named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places”. This annual list generates significant nationwide publicity, including The New York Times, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, and USA Today.


May, 2009: Presentation of the University of Miami Architectural Preservation Studio on the Marine Stadium and Basin. The graduate student class is taught by Jorge Hernandez, Hilario Candela and Catherine Lynn. Numerous ideas from this student class are ultimately adopted by EDSA in a redraft of the Virginia Key Master Plan.


The Friends of Marine Stadium hosts a logo contest to design a logo for the group. There are 32 submissions (which are posted on the website.). Friends of Marine Stadium also hosts a “State of the Stadium” shindig, attended by several hundred people at the Bayside Hut, next door to the Stadium.


July, 2009:   $50,000 is raised to fund an engineering study to evaluate the structural condition of the concrete of the Stadium. Funding comes from a coalition of local and national organizations led by the World Monuments Fund, The Villagers, the Office of Commissioner Carlos Gimenez, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the John and Selene Devaney Foundation. The study will be done by Simpson, Gumpertz and Heger, the same firm that did the Marine Stadium study in 1993.


The Marine Stadium is named to the Florida Trust For Historic Designation’s “11 Most Endangered” List.


September, 2009: Jimmy Buffett records video endorsement for Friends of Marine Stadium.  This generates significant press and excitement.


October, 2009:  The Worlds Monuments Fund, the foremost organization worldwide devoted to the preservation of architectural and cultural sites, names the Marine Stadium to its 2010 Watch List (significant sites which are endangered), along with places such as Macchu Picchu, the historic center of Buenos Aires, the City of Old Jerusalem, and Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. There is significant additional press including an article by the Associated Press which is syndicated nationwide. Web traffic, which has been rising steadily, spikes in October.


The City of Miami Commission hears the latest version of the EDSA Master Plan. The Plan, which incorporates many ideas of the University of Miami Preservation Workshop, reduces significantly the amount of building around the Stadium and eliminates proposed docks of the Basin. The City Commission defers action on the Master Plan and requests that the plan return to the Commission in May, 2010.

The Administration drops its appeal of the historic designation of the Marine Stadium Basin and envelope of land surrounding the Stadium.


November, 2009 Tomas Regalado elected Mayor of Miami; makes restoration of Miami Marine Stadium a priority of his administration


February, 2010, World Monuments Fund and Friends of Marine Stadium announce results of engineering study done by Simpson Gumpertz and Heger (SGH). Study shows that the cost of the concrete restoration estimated to be between $5.5-$8.5 million, depending upon how much additional work is done to extend the life of the structure. This compares to a report prepared for the City of Miami in 2008 which estimated the costs of concrete restoration to be as high as $15 million. SGH recommends that an additional study be done to examine the condition of the piles under the seabed and under the land. The SGH figure is for concrete restoration only and does not include other items such as bathrooms, new seats, plumbing, electrical, etc.


April, 2010: Miami Dade County Board of Commissioners approve by a 12-0 unanimous vote, $3 million of funding for restoration of the Marine Stadium from a Historic Preservation Program. The funding will not be available until all other funding has been secured. All of the Commissioners spoke about events that they attended at the Marine Stadium and the importance of it. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado spoke in favor of the funding.  



July, 2010: Miami City Commission approves Virginia Key Master Plan by a unanimous 5-0 vote. The plan, which includes the Marine Stadium and Basin, was based on the work of an architectural studio in the spring of 2010 at the University of Miami led by Friends of Marine Stadium Co-Founder and Architecture Professor Jorge Hernandez and Hilario Candela, architect of the Marine Stadium.  The studio worked with a coalition of groups led by the Urban Environment League and the City of Miami Planning Department and Administration. It makes the Marine Stadium the centerpiece of development for Virginia Key.


The plan does not include any money-but it is a road map for the future and a very important step in the initiative to restore the Stadium.


September, 2010: The FIND Commission (Florida Inland Navigation District) approves an expenditure of $175,000 for an analysis, design and permit study to evaluate the water side pilings of the Marine Stadium and the portion of the structure that is above the water. This amount must be matched. If the study is successfully completed, the City may apply to the FIND Commission at a future date for funding for a portion of the restoration work.


November, 2010: The Miami City Commission approves an expenditure of $175,000 for the pilings study, matching the FIND Commission grant.


Febuary, 2011: Friends of Marine Stadium announces a contest to design a new floating stage for the Stadium. The contest is administered by DawnTown and co-sponsored by the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


May, 2011: The winner and semi-finalists of the Floating Stage Design contest are announced at an Awards Ceremony held at the Rusty Pelican.  All 90 contest entries-many international-are displayed. The event is attended by 175 people and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. The event receives significant press attention.


July-August, 2011:  Friends of Miami Marine Stadium receives 501(c)(3) designation by the Internal Revenue Service and is qualified to independently accept tax deductible contributions. The first effort to negotiate an agreement with the City of Miami over development of the Marine Stadium and adjacent area is not successful; work continues with an expected date for the agreement of fall, 2011. The Miami Herald writes its sixth editorial in favor of the restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium. 


January, 2012: The Miami Sports and Exhibtion Authority, (MSEA) a quasi-public organization, approves a Resolution and Memorandum of Understanding that represents a first step towards establishing a partnership between MSEA, the Miami City Commission, and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium for the restoration and operation of the Marine Stadium. The Miami City Commission defers action on this item for a future meeting. The Miami Herald writes its 7th editorial in favor of the restoration of the Marine Stadium. 


February, 2012: Robert Hammond and Phil Aarons, Co-Founder and Founding Chair of The High Line (New York City) make a presentation at the University of Miami School of Architecture entitled “The High Line-New York’s Park In The Sky: Lessons for Miami Marine Stadium”. The event, which was initiated and co-sponsored by Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, was preceeded by a morning press conference at the Marine Stadium featuring Tomas Regalado, Mayor of Miami, various elected officials, Hammond and Aarons, and Bonnie Burnham, President of The World Monuments Fund. Jack Meyer, engineer of the Marine Stadium is honored by Friends of Miami Marine Stadium at a sold out event (160 people) at the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. The evening features speakers from various engineering organizations, Mayor Regalado, The Chair of the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida (Jack graduated from there in 1949) and members of Biscayne Bay Yacht Club.


March 2012: Miami City Commission approves the creation of a partnership between the City, Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority, and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium. According to the terms of the agreement, Friends must submit a business plan for the renovation of the Stadium within six months and a raise the funds necessary for it within two years. The Marine Stadium is named to the National Treasures list of the National Trust For Historic Preservation. For each National Treasure, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is creating a coordinated campaign that taps expert resources across the organization, including preservation, advocacy, legal, marketing and fund-raising. This is a very exclusive program. To date, only 22 sites around the country have been selected.




April, 2012: The National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded a $50,000 grant to Friends of Miami Marine Stadium for planning. 


December, 2012; The Miami Marine Stadium Steering Committee unanimously approves the site plan for Marine Stadium Park, as recommended by Friends of Miami Marine Stadium. The Site plan now goes to the City of Miami Commission and Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority for approval. Approval of a site plan was mandated by the MOU. Friends of Miami Marine Stadium had a very successful Art Basel. An exhibit of photographs of the Marine Stadium by Jay Koenigsberg was displayed at the National Hotel to kick off Art Basel. 200 people attended the opening.


March,  2013: Friends of Miami Marine Stadium makes a presentation of the Marine Stadium Site Plan to the Miami City Commission.  The Commission asks the Administration for preparation of a specific  proposal so that the item can be voted upon.


May, 2013: Gloria Estefan is introduced as the “voice” of Miami Marine Stadium and will lead the Advocacy campaign. The story, widely covered, reaches newspapers and media in the United States, Latin America, and the Carribean. The Miami Herald writes another editorial-their eighth-in support of our efforts to restore the Miami Marine Stadium.


Last modified on Tuesday, 20 August 2013 20:08
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