There's mixed reaction coming from Miami after Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted for David Beckham's Inter Miami MLS club's plans for Lockhart Stadium.
Critics and supporters are sounding off in the wake of Fort Lauderdale's decision Tuesday night to allow the club to rebuild the complex as part of their training center and youth academy. The MLS team would play at least its first two seasons there, but Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the club has not abandoned Miami.
"The Dolphins play in Miami-Dade but have a training facility in Broward, it's very typical, so I'm not surprised, given the nature of the deal, they got free land and a public subsidy, something they're not getting in the City of Miami," Suarez told NBC 6 on Wednesday.
Miami voters have already approved a measure giving Inter Miami the sole right to develop Melreese Golf Course into a soccer stadium with retail, office and hotel space. But critics say Inter Miami's agreement with Fort Lauderdale is another sign the city was taken for a ride.
"A stadium was the bait to obtain a positive vote," Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes said. "It was not a stab in the back, they stab it right in the front, right in the chest."
"So we're gonna absorb a lot of the negative impact but the majority of the benefit will be taken somewhere else, to Broward County, to Fort Lauderdale," Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez said. "Congratulations to them, woe to us."
Suarez said the team is paying fair market value to build at Melreese and said he's confident the entire complex will get built in Miami.
"I think that's why it's important for us to finalize our deal, which is gonna bring thousands of jobs to the city, millions of dollars in revenue, a 60-acre public park, 23 acres of additional soccer fields and of course an MLS team to Miami," Suarez said.