Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key enjoyed waves of renewed interest over the past decade. The architectural wonder fell into decay after closing in 1992, but activists still fight for its survival. Taking place this month, the Miami International Boat Show puts the stadium back into the spotlight.
The Long Dive into Disrepair
Back in the day, the Miami Marine Stadium saw numerous world-famous acts perform on its floating stage. Built in 1963 by Cuban immigrant Hilario Candela, covered seats spanning 326 feet in length welcomed crowds of people. Along with other notable events, it’s been the backdrop for Elvis Presley’s 1967 movie “Clambake.” Jimmy Buffett made a splash in 1985 and Gloria Estefan now supports preserving the stadium.
Disaster struck in 1992, though it wasn’t entirely Hurricane Andrew’s fault. The city claimed the hurricane damage called for demolition, but the insurance company blamed the deterioration on “lack of investment.”
Protestors demanded the city leave the stadium standing. While the city complied, they kept it closed due to safety hazards. It’s been a haven for graffiti artists ever since.
A Fresh Breath of Sea Air
Many battles have been fought over Miami Marine Stadium. After forming in 2008, advocacy group Friends of Miami Marine Stadium pushed for it to become a historical landmark.
The group publicized the stadium until 2014, when the city denied their $121-million renovation plan for the building and surrounding land. The city then decided to make the project a priority.
A year of rejected proposals followed. In November 2016, Miami commissioners finally approved Mayor Tomas Regalado’s smaller $45-million plan.
Relocating the Miami International Boat Show indicates the city’s renewed interest.
When the Miami Beach Convention Center closed for renovation, they jumped at the chance to have the 2016 show at the Miami Marine Stadium.
While the actual structure isn’t repaired yet, the city spruced up the basin and grounds for the event. 2017 marks the show’s second year on Virginia Key.
Enthusiasts can indulge in boat-watching, learn from a DIY seminar, or simply stop by for a tasty meal.
Guests participating in the new VIP experience accessa private lounge on a 111-food luxury yacht, complete with spa treatments and entertainment.
Credit Source & Photo: SYSIndie, Golden Dusk Photography, SouthFlorida Business Journal, Friends of Miami Marine Stadium.