Miami Marine Stadium, which has been closed for 20 years, is a sentimental favorite of many Miami residents. Thousands once viewed power boat races here, attended Easter sunrise services, or experienced their first concert under the stadium’s signature cantilevered roof. On any given night, private boats would also surround the floating barge that served as the stadium’s stage. When the 326-foot-long, fold-plate roof was poured in 1963, it was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world.
The 6,566-seat arena is the only stadium in the United States built for the purpose of watching power boat races. It was designed by Hilario Candela, a Cuban-born architect who at age 27 conceived a stadium that is now viewed as a masterwork of civic architecture and modern construction.
- Work with local partners and the City of Miami to restore Miami Marine Stadium as a flourishing entertainment venue.
Ways To Help
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Excerpted from Miami Herald:
Miami officials are expected to vote today on a plan to spend millions on improvements to land next to the historic Miami Marine Stadium in order to lure the Miami International Boat Show to Virginia Key next year. “We’re just really excited about the opportunity and we’re really excited about what we’re going to learn in 2016 and ’17, and possibly beyond,” said boat show manager Cathy Rick-Joule. “I see that this will continue to be a part of the Miami International Boat Show in the foreseeable future.”
During a hearing held in early November, the National Trust was gratified that — for the first time ever — the Miami City Commission expressed unanimous support for restoring Miami Marine Stadium.
However, while expressing support for the stadium’s restoration, the Commission raised some tough questions about a larger proposal for development around the stadium that — in addition to restoring the stadium — included a significant commercial footprint on Virginia Key. This particular plan was not shared in advance with the National Trust, and in our view, was not developed with the transparency and due diligence that one should expect for such a prominent public site.
Over the past five years, the National Trust has worked diligently to support efforts to restore Miami Marine Stadium. And we stand ready to support the City of Miami in its planning to preserve this important National Treasure.
Looking ahead, our commitment to saving and restoring Miami Marine Stadium for future generations remains unchanged. We invite you to stay tuned here on SavingPlaces.org, where we will continue to share important updates about our work to make this vision a reality.
Thank you for your support, and for all that you do to help save the past to enrich the future.
Written by Jason Lloyd Clement, Project Manager
The Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium today announced a win-win agreement that will provide ideal accommodations for the world’s largest boat show while paving the way for the restoration of Miami Marine Stadium – a long-shuttered masterpiece of modern architecture that in 2009 was declared one of America’s most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
At a press event held this morning at Miami Marine Stadium, representatives from the Miami International Boat Show announced that they have committed to hosting the boat show in 2016 and 2017 at the stadium and its grounds while exploring it as a long-term home. The announcement follows months of speculation over the boat show’s future in the city due to the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is slated to begin in 2016.
The first confirmed reuse of Miami Marine Stadium and its grounds since their closure in 1992, the agreement with the Miami International Boat Show allows the restoration of the stadium to begin in earnest.
“In 2016, the Miami International Boat Show will celebrate its 75th year in Miami. What better way to commemorate the significance of this historic annual tradition than by bringing the show to Miami Marine Stadium – one of Miami’s most iconic and beloved marine venues,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which owns and produces the show. “With unique features to accommodate the more than 100,000 boaters who travel from throughout the globe to experience the best the boating industry has to offer, Miami Marine Stadium could be poised to be a home for the boat show in 2016 and beyond.”
“The Miami International Boat Show is the premier event of its kind in the country and a significant economic force in Miami, drawing thousands of local residents as well as tourists from around the world,” said Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. “And Miami Marine Stadium is a beloved place that holds special memories for generations of Miamians. By bringing these two together, this agreement ensures that both of these important institutions are on the path to a bright future here in Miami.”
“This is the kind of agreement that the National Trust has envisioned since we named Miami Marine Stadium to our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2009,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Having the Miami International Boat Show as the first confirmed reuse of the stadium in almost a quarter century hastens the day when Miamians will once again be able to come together in this iconic National Treasure.”
“All of us who love Miami Marine Stadium have waited a long time for this day,” said Hilario Candela, the Cuban American architect who designed the stadium when he was 27 years old. “Not only do we finally have a tenant at the stadium, but the fact that it will be a new home of the Miami International Boat Show is especially appropriate. The stadium was envisioned as a center for boating and a gathering place for people who love boats. To have it now return to embrace its original use is symbolic and especially gratifying.”
Gloria Estefan, a Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation who has served as the “Voice of Miami Marine Stadium” and single-handedly elevated the campaign to restore it to an international audience of millions, made the announcement at this morning’s event.
“I have wonderful memories of performing at Miami Marine Stadium and of attending the Miami International Boat Show. To have both, together in one place, is a perfect match,” said Estefan. “For people in Miami, boating is in our DNA. I look forward to the day when the stadium is once again filled with people coming together to create long-lasting memories of their own.”
Joining his wife at the event, Miami-Dade Special Ambassador Emilio Estefan added: "Having the opportunity to host the world-renowned Miami International Boat Show at Miami Marine Stadium is a winning situation for both the stadium and the City of Miami. The Miami International Boat Show is one of our city’s premier events that so positively impacts our residents, hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, and all areas of business. Congratulations to Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Mayor Tomás Regalado for this exciting announcement."
Excerpted from Soul of Miami:
What happens when Miami’s most iconic structure inspires top street artists from around the world? Find out at an exciting pop-up exhibition kicking off Art Basel and featuring artists from the Art | History Mural Project. Hosted by the Art History Mural Project, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, the exhibition is free and open to the general public.
Ryan Camarena on June 23, 2014
The Miami Marine Stadium has been a place of interest for me, although it has not been easy to photograph and document. I hope that the Miami locals and others enjoy this photo as much as I enjoy photographing the stadium.
norman leathers on September 22, 2013
I donate to the campaign to renovate the marine stadium as a gesture to preserve one of the few beautiful architectural structures in Miami and in an outrage against the corrupt political beings who have allowed this travesty to take place under false pretenses of a structure not being stable and too costly to repair.
BRUCE BENSON on September 09, 2013
I REMEMBER GOING THERE AS A KID WITH MY DAD WHEN I WAS ABOUT 6. I THOUGHT IT WAS THE COOLEST THING EVER. I WENT THERE FOR MANY YEARS AFTER THAT AND I NEVER GOT TIRED OF WATCHING THE RACES THERE. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER ALL THE GREAT TIMES I HAD THERE. IT HURTS TO SEE ALL OF THE PAINTING AND THE PLACE FALLING APART. I BELEIVE PLACES LIKE THIS AND OTHER OLD LAND MARKS SHOULD BE SAVED. THANKS FOR ALL THE MEMORYS
Catherine on July 14, 2013
I worry about the impact to marine life in the area with added boat traffic, noise, and pollution. I've paddled in that area and often see manatees. I'm also wondering what plans there are to make sure that events are run as green and environmentally friendly as possible, considering it is next to water. For example, what effort will be made to make sure that litter from large crowds at events does not end up in the water? Will items sold be environmentally friendly/biodegradable? Will you ban plastic bottles or straws or styrofoam cups from the stadium? Will you make sure there are no plastic bags in the stadium that can blow into the water and harm marine life? I went paddling today in Fort Lauderdale. From one tiny corner of Victoria Park, I was able to completely fill a laundry basket with litter, mostly plastic water bottles and also styrofoam cups. The stadium should include many many trash and recycling bins, including in the parking lot. Perhaps the stadium could also put up posters encouraging guests to throw away trash properly, etc.? Thanks so much.
Roberto Gadala on May 08, 2013
Marine Stadium is an amazing asset for Miami - for boaters like me it provides a beautiful setting where we can spend the day and wait for the sunset which will in turn reveal the real beauty of the spot - Miami Skyline at night - the view is breathtaking and inspiring. An additional bonus is the fact that the spot offers the perfect space for waterskiing - Unfortunately some political preasure has been applied and now the area has been designated a "No Wake Zone" to favor the row club - regardless of this, the area should be preserved and Miami should take advantage of it again. We can hold concerts, races, waterskiing competitions, exhibitions, etc.
Karen Hutchison on April 24, 2013
I worked at the concession stand when I was in high school. I attended many events held there, long after my high school days. It was such a beautiful structure and so progressive for its' time. What a shame to see it being destroyed from neglect and vandalism. It was not only for locals, but it attracted tourists for the concerts (not all were R&R), boat racing, fire work displays, and worship services....can't it be saved?????? So much history......
alex frias on April 24, 2013
I remember as a kid going their with my family and seeing many different venues from performers to boat races. I would love to be able to share this with my kids. This is a Historic place for me and many others please figure out a way of rebuilding this place
Anon on April 24, 2013
I'd love to see some concerts out there! Just like my aunt did back in the day, but it's going to be quite the scandal when those who actual appreciate all the art that's been put up over the years will probably be replaced by a modern architectural stadium.
William on December 16, 2012
My mom tells me amazing stories about when she used to go there as a kid. I hope I will also get that chance in the future...
Architect Hilario Candela on July 02, 2012
[Taken from an Interview with "Preservation" Magazine] For many years, Miami Marine Stadium has been an iconographic image in Miami. We don’t have many, and I think we need to protect those we have. It’s also one of the only open spaces where all residents can get to the water. We want it to become a gathering place again.