By Associated Press - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - The Miami International Boat Show will be moving to Miami Marine Stadium.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association runs the boat show. President Thom Dammrich tells The Miami Herald ( ) that the boat show will move to Miami Marine Stadium in 2016 and 2017.

The move “unites two of the City’s most celebrated boating institutions and solidifies Miami’s place on the map as an international boating destination,” Dammrich said.

The stadium was a popular site for powerboat races and concerts, but it was shut down after Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992. It has fallen into a state of disrepair and been covered in graffiti.

Singer Gloria Estefan has been the public face of a campaign to preserve the stadium. She will join city officials at the stadium Thursday to officially announce the deal.

Preservationists estimate that renovating the stadium, still considered an architectural and engineering jewel, will cost roughly $30 million.

“This is absolutely wonderful news,” said Jorge Hernandez, co-founder of Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, the nonprofit group running the restoration project. “There is no better fit for the site.”

Under an agreement with the city, the organization has until January to show successful fundraising and a viable operating plan to secure a long-term lease. The group must show that the stadium, a perennial money-loser when it was open, can be managed without public subsidies.

The boat show is expected to boost the stadium’s finances. It netted $680,000 for the Miami Beach Convention Center last year, said Max Sklar, Miami Beach’s director of tourism and culture.

At the stadium, the boat show would set up tents to use an area now occupied by parking lots, Hernandez said. Some exhibits also would occupy some of the waters in front of the stadium.

Once the city agrees to a lease, the stadium can start some of the renovations by ripping up asphalt, installing utilities and planting grass and trees so that the property would be ready by the 2016 boat show, said Hernandez and Hilario Candela, the stadium’s designer.


Information from: The Miami Herald,

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