inter miami stadium

Inter Miami Owner Pitches Stadium Deal in One On One Interview

The City of Miami Commission will decide whether to move forward with the plan to allow the club to build a soccer stadium along with a hotel, office park, shopping and restaurants on what is now the Melreese Public Golf Course

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The Inter Miami CF stadium issue comes to a head on Thursday.

The City of Miami Commission will decide whether to move forward with the plan to allow the club to build a soccer stadium along with a hotel, office park, shopping and restaurants on what is now the Melreese Public Golf Course.

In an interview with NBC 6, Inter Miami CF CEO and managing owner Jorge Mas discussed the proposal, beginning with his view on why it’s vastly different from the Marlins Park deal.

“This is a deal when we made our commitment to the community three and a half years ago, that it would take no taxpayer funds, that is what we’re presenting to the city of Miami commissioners, so I think it’s unprecedented in the history of American sports, I believe this will be the only stadium in the USA that pays for the land and pays property taxes, so this is so different from the Marlins deal that those who try to equate it, it’s almost laughable,” Mas said.

Marlins Park, now Loan Depot Stadium, was built with about $600 million in taxpayer dollars.

NBC 6 asked Mas if the plan isn’t just a big real estate deal that happens to include a stadium.

“Well the referendum talked about the development, it talked about the stadium, it talked about a million square feet, it talked about 750 hotel rooms, so the voters knew what they were approving for us to move forward with,” Mas said, speaking of the 2018 referendum in which voters approved the plan’s concept. “So when you look at the economic benefits that you can derive from a project and build a stadium and make it a destination site, that’s a win-win, and I think that’s a model of how stadiums should be built in the United States.”

Last week, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told NBC 6 there would be a reappraisal of that property to make sure that the city got the best possible deal.

“I agree with that,” Mas said. “The appraisals done by the city, comprehensive, there were three firms involved, were from September 2019. So I do think — for the sake of our taxpayers, for the sake of history — I think it’s important to update that appraisal and what is the fair market value today. I said from day one, we will pay fair market value for the land.”

The team currently plays in the brand-new, but never intended to be permanent, Drive Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

The team paid for its construction and the demolition of the shuttered properties which once sat on that land, Lockhart Stadium and Fort Lauderdale Baseball Stadium.

The Inter Miami CF training center is also located on the site.

NBC 6 asked Mas, why not just continue playing the games there?

“One, our commitment was to the city of Miami," he said. "When MLS awarded the franchise to David Beckham it was a commitment to building a stadium in Miami,” Mas said, pointing out that building a state-of-the-art facility in Miami is integral to attracting better players.

At least one of the five city commissioners, Manolo Reyes, opposes the deal, telling us last week that it’s “horrible.”

“But I’m very confident because I think that the benefits of this are amazing to our city, it’s unprecedented in its nature,” Mas said, saying he thinks the commission will approve the proposal.

If a majority of the commission agrees, Inter Miami CF gets a 99-year lease, without competitive bidding, on part of the Melreese property.

The rest stays with the city as a park, and the club is obligated to pay $20 million to the city to develop that park.

Mas expects to pay about $40 million a year in property taxes plus $10 million for lease payments annually.

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