Head of Royal Caribbean cruise lines discusses soccer stadium site

Richard Fain says 'We have to protect our port'

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter

MIAMI - The opposition is in the air, and in print, when it comes to the possible location of David Beckham's desired PortMiami stadium site. The driving force behind it is Richard Fain, the head of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

"This is a time when we have to stand up and say we have to protect our port," said Fain.

In an interview with Local 10's Michael Putney for This Week in South Florida, Fain detailed his support for soccer in Miami, so long as David Beckham's stadium is anywhere but the southwest port site he favors, which is unusable for ships, but slated for by county leaders for some type of commercial development.

"Most of the space that the port uses isn't for the ships," said Fain. "The vast majority of the space is the infrastructure. The technology is changing, mechanics are changing, and we need to evolve as time goes on, and we haven't done that."

Fain and his well-funded Miami Seaport Alliance argue a soccer stadium, taking up the 12-acre port site, will jeopardize more than 200 cargo and cruise-related jobs, a claim newspaper researchers find false.

Fain said he fears the progress and investments of the county's No. 2 economic driver, a deep dredge and gantry cranes, preparing for super ships coming from the newly widened Panama Canal.

Though Royal Caribbean's parking lot and employee gym are currently on the site, Fain refutes ideas that the company wants a sweet deal for itself.

"We think that is moving us away from developing the port and expanding the ports capabilities," said Fain.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said the decision on the new stadium site will rest with the people of Miami.

"The waterfront land in the city of Miami is one of the most controversial issues that we can deal with," said Regalado. "I know this is going to be controversial and that's why the people of Miami should decide. It is their land"

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