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MIAMI – David Beckham's architects and advisers have recommended the Port of Miami as the stadium site for the Major League Soccer expansion team that will be owned by the former English national team captain.
The plan announced Monday would have an open-air stadium with views of the bay and the downtown skyline. The capacity could be as low as 21,000 or as high as 35,000.
More than 30 sites were evaluated for the stadium. In addition to the recommended site, Marlins Park, Florida International University and a site near the city's airport remain under consideration for the team.
There is no year set for the team to start play.
John Alschuler, chairman of the consulting firm HR&A, said the earliest the new stadium could be ready was 2018. If the team starts play earlier, it would have to play in a temporary home, such as Marlins Park or FIU.
Alschuler said a stadium at the Port of Miami would be built without the use of taxpayer money and that fans could drive there by using the Port of Miami tunnel and seeking limited parking spaces.
Beckham's group envisions perhaps as many as 4,000 fans per game making a "seven- or eight- minute walk" across the bridge from where the Miami Heat plays its NBA home games at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"The March to the Match' is a soccer tradition common in Europe and in certain parts of the United States," Alschuler said. "They hang out in bars and march to the match."
To ease traffic and parking concerns, the proposed MLS team has said it would not schedule home games on the same nights the Heat plays.
Alschuler said Beckham's group would pay "fair market" value for the land at the proposed site and would make a $200 million investment in creating jobs and economic activity downtown.
"We want a site that can feed off of the incredible energy that is developing downtown. We believe we can contribute to that," Alschuler said. "We want to be the most significant asset we can be to the economy of South Florida create jobs, create tax revenue and contribute to the economic balance sheet of the Port of Miami."