Beckham's Miami MLS franchise stadium site vote delayed six days by commissioners
The vote on David Beckham’s latest plan for a stadium to house his Major League Soccer expansion franchise in Miami has been delayed for six days, with city commissioners still not ready to decide on the matter.
Beckham, 43, was on hand as the Miami City Commision took public commentary and deliberated over the latest proposed site — the Melreese Country Club, a public golf course owned by the city that sits near Miami International Airport.
The Miami Herald reported that commissioner Ken Russell, a potential swing vote on the matter, was critical of the Beckham group for not doing community outreach in Melreese neighborhood, while also questioning Beckham and partner Jorge Mas about how the lost park space would be replaced among other things.
The deal Beckham is proposing calls for the city to collect nearly $140 million in rent payments over 39 years, a rate of roughly $3.5 million annually, to build a 28,000-seat stadium, an underground parking facility, public soccer fields, 500 new hotel rooms, a conference center, retail stores, restaurants and more.
Commissioners first need to approve the bid in order for voters to weigh in on Nov. 6 whether to change the city’s charter and allow what would be a no-bid deal to lease 73 acres at the Melreese site to the group.
Petitions have been circulating to save the Melreese course, where Tiger Woods has appeared for clinics in the past. Longtime LPGA star Cristie Kerr, a Miami native, has voiced opposition to the Melreese plan in recent months, as has fellow Miami native pro Erik Compton.
“Please help protect this beautiful green space, this public golf course and this home to amazing youth programs,” Compton wrote on Twitter .
The Beckham franchise, when it gets going, will also bring a training center and an academy focused on developing local players to the Miami area.
The stadium-location quest is just the latest drawn-out chapter in Beckham’s five-years-and-counting marathon to bring MLS back to Miami. The Miami Fusion played from 1998-2001, folding because of poor attendance.
Beckham and MLS announced in January that the franchise would be coming to Miami, but nearly every detail about the club remains unclear. There’s no definitive start date — 2020 has been mentioned repeatedly — as well as no team name, no logo, no colors, no coaching staff and no front-office personnel.
More than a year ago, Miami-Dade County commissioners approved a deal to sell Beckham nearly three acres of county land for $9 million with the belief that it would be the last parcel he needed for a stadium site in the city’s Overtown neighborhood. But that site was never the preferred choice for Beckham and his group anyway, with the original hope being to build on the waterfront near the Port of Miami.
The Overtown site now seems all but doomed, although it’s unclear what would happen if city commissioners or voters block the latest Beckham plan.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.
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