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Miami Boat Show Plans New Home At Miami Marine Stadium

Patrick Farrell
Miami Herald

  In the 1980s, Gloria Estefan performed at the Miami Marine Stadium, just before the striking concrete structure fell into disuse and neglect. With her hits filling the air once again, she arrived in a big yacht to assume a new role in the stadium's life. 

"I'm a Cuban-American which is a no-brainer that I would love to be a part of trying to salvage, save and bring into the future one of the contributions of our Cuban-American community that is so important and so unique," she says.

The stadium was designed in 1962 by a 27-year-old Cuban architect Hilario Candela. Estefan and her husband, Emilio Estefan, will be the celebrity fundraisers for the stadium's $30 million renovation, spearheaded by the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium.

Half the money has already been pledged and much of the rest is likely to come from the Miami International Boat Show, which is losing its traditional home in Miami Beach.

Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, produces the event.

"As the City of Miami Beach embarked on renovating the Miami Beach Convention Center, we've been working closely with Mayor Regalado to find an ideal home for the boat show," he says. "In exploring the Miami Marine Stadium, we realized, we had found one." 

Dammrich has committed to staging the 2016 and 2017 boat shows at the stadium, where he expects the scenic surroundings, improved water access and ample parking to increase the show's annual economic impact, estimated at $6 million.

Plans all depend on the City of Miami reaching a lease agreement with the Friends of the Marine Stadium. The first of two city commission votes on that is scheduled for next week.