Yesterday, November 13, 2014, saw the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium announce 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. This represents 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.
Aerial view of Marine Stadium - Image credit to Hilario Candela
At a press event held yesterday 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.
Marine Stadium Entry - Image credit to Hilario Candela
“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.”
Marine Stadium Water View - Image credit to Hilario Candela
“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 yesterday 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.”
Miami Marine Stadium is part of the National Trust’s portfolio of National Treasures – a collection of threatened historic buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes across the country where the National Trust is committed to finding a long-term preservation solution. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places.