Miami Marine Stadium

The Miami Marine Stadium is a marine stadium on Virginia Key, Miami, Florida, United States. The facility, built and completed in 1963 by the Millman Construction Company of Miami Beach,[citation needed] on land donated to the City of Miami from the Matheson family, is the first stadium purpose-built for powerboat racing in the United States. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2018.

The 6,566-seat stadium was built in 1963 on land donated for water sports, and designed by architect Hilario Candela, then a 28-year-old recent immigrant from Cuba. It was dedicated as the Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium opened, completed at a cost of around $2 million ($17.7 million, adjusted for current inflation). A speed boat racer, James Tapp, was killed on opening day. The venue, located just south of Downtown Miami, was revered for its scenic views of Downtown and Miami Beach, hosting motorboat events, and events featuring the likes of Mitch Miller, Sammy Davis, Jr., and U.S. President Richard Nixon (whose seasonal winter residence, dubbed “the Florida White House,” was on nearby Key Biscayne).[2]

In 1979, Miami Rowing Club relocated to an empty lot between the stadium and MAST Academy (then known as Planet Ocean museum). The Miami International Regatta has been hosted by Miami Rowing Club since 1973, the basin provides a 1,500 meter 7 lane course for practice, training and racing.

From its opening for nearly 30 years, the stadium was used for its intended water sports as well as concerts, sporting events such as boxing (which began in 1972), and even figured prominently in the 1967 Elvis Presley film Clambake, serving as the scene of Elvis’ climatic speedboat race.[3] In the wake of Hurricane Andrew, it was declared an unsafe building under Miami-Dade County building code on September 18, 1992. In 2004, $3 million was pledged in a municipal bonds by county residents for the restoration and renovation of the facilities.