Grab a Seat (Literally, with a $500 Donation)

A crowdfunding campaign seeks $100,000 to restore the Miami Marine Stadium

Architecture East Preservation
Designed by Cuban-born architect Hilario Candela, completed in 1963, and forsaken after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Miami's iconic Marine Stadium is poised for new life. (Courtesy Ken Hayden)
Designed by Cuban-born architect Hilario Candela, completed in 1963, and forsaken after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Miami's iconic Marine Stadium is poised for new life. (Courtesy Ken Hayden)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and Heineken have teamed up for a crowdfunding campaign to save the historic Miami Marine Stadium in Virginia Key. Heineken is offering up to $20,000 in matching funds towards the campaign’s total $100,000 flexible fundraising goal.

(Courtesy Adriana Tobon/Flickr)

(Courtesy Adriana Tobon/Flickr)

Funding from the campaign will go towards re-opening the venue and restoring it to its former glory, starting with replacing its 6,566 seats. The project will also require repairs the structure necessitated by to environmental damage and vandalism. Since its closure, the concrete stadium has been a popular site for skateboarders and graffiti artists, and it has been covered nearly top to bottom in spray paint. The campaign is offering photo prints of the best graffiti art as incentives for a $10 donation.


Miami Marine Stadium side-view current condition (Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Miami Marine Stadium side-view current condition. (Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Miami Marine Stadium was built in 1963 on Biscayne Bay as a venue for powerboat racing events. Later the stadium was also used for concerts from performers like the Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys and spectator sports like boxing. It was closed in 1992 in the wake of Hurricane Andrew when the structure was declared unsafe under Miami-Dade County building code.

(Courtesy Adrian Machanse)

(Courtesy Adrian Machanse)

The unique design of the stadium came from a 28-year-old architect named Hilario Candela, a recent immigrant from Cuba. It includes a span of cantilevered concrete as long as a football field that, which at the time of its building, was the longest in the world. The massive roof is anchored by concrete columns set as far back as possible so as to offer unobstructed views of the bay.

(Courtesy Rick Bravo)

(Courtesy Rick Bravo)

The NTHP has been working toward saving the stadium since 2009, when they added it to their 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list. In early 2016 it was the location of the Miami International Boat Show, marking the first official use of the stadium in over 20 year and bringing new awareness to the site.

(Arseni Varabyeu)

(Arseni Varabyeu)

The organization does not have an estimated date for the project to be finished, but according to the crowdfunding campaign, the removal of the seats is almost finished. They have also received $4 million from the City of Miami towards further improvements. More details on the campaign are available here.

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