What to Know
- Commissioners on Wednesday voted on a proposal that would likely clear the way for a group led by soccer legend David Beckham.
- Such a move allows the city to go forward with the likely approval of a plan to lease land occupied by the current Melreese Country Club.
City of Miami commissioners on Wednesday approved a proposal that would likely clear the way for a group led by soccer star David Beckham and other businessmen to lease land for a new soccer stadium complex – a plan met with pushback from some in the community.
The measure passed in a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Keon Hardemon, Joe Carollo and Ken Russell voted in favor, while Manuel Reyes and Willie Gort were against the measure.
Commissioners met at 10 a.m. over the possible approval of the referendum that would be placed on the November ballot allowing voters to decide whether to change bidding laws in the city’s charter to negotiate a no-bid deal.
Such a move would allow the city to go forward with the likely approval of a plan by the group led by Beckham and businessman Jorge Mas, among others, to lease land occupied by the current Melreese Country Club near Miami International Airport for 99 years.
The group has proposed a massive complex that would include a 28,000 seat stadium for a future Major League Soccer franchise, as well as youth soccer fields and spaces for retail shops, hotels and offices.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has come out in support of the stadium, saying it would create one of the largest areas for public use in the area. The park could bring in $40 million worth of annual tax revenue and the group will also donate $20 million to the city to help operate the park while creating 11,000 jobs over the next three years.
A lawsuit was filed in an effort to stop any proposed plan. Miami resident William Muir named Suarez and several other city officials as defendants in the case, arguing they are ignoring mandatory parts of the city charter if such a stadium deal is approved and that the public was not given enough notice or an opportunity to bid on a piece of public property.
The proposed stadium is also being opposed by members of the community who participate in the First Tee program based out of the course, which has been in operation since the 1940s.
The search for a soccer home for the future franchise has been years in the making – with past sites near Marlins Park, PortMiami and the AmericanAirlines Arena all not working out for a variety of reasons.