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Miami voters will have say on Beckham MLS stadium plan

Miami (AFP) – Miami voters will have their say in November on David Beckham’s latest plan for a Major League Soccer stadium development in the city, after a vote by city commissioners on Wednesday.

The Miami City Commission voted 3-2 to place a referendum on the November 6 ballot that would open the door for the complex on city-owned land that is now occupied by a municipal golf course.

The proposal by retired England star Beckham and his business partners includes a 25,000-seat stadium for an expansion MLS club, along with 23 acres of youth football pitches with artificial turf, a 750-room hotel, restaurant, retail and office space plus a 58-acre public park.

The commission delayed a vote last week after a presentation by the investment group was followed by hours of public comment both for and against the plan.

Those opposed included a group from the First Tee Miami youth golf program based at the Melreese Country Club site.

Wednesday’s move by the commission will let voters decide whether to allow the city to change its laws and waive competitive bidding and authorize the commission to negotiate a 99-year lease of the site.

If voters approve, a lease agreement must gain approval of four of the five commissioners.

On Wednesday, Beckham business partner Jorge Mas went through a list of new provisions added since last week’s presentation. That includes an agreement that no city funding would be used for toxic soil cleanup, a cost that is estimated at $35 million.

The group also offered assurances that First Tee Miami could stay put, with a driving range on the site and access to a nearby 18-hole golf course.

The Melreese site is just the latest that Beckham has seriously pursued. More than a year ago the England icon had proposed a stadium in a downtown Miami neighborhood in a project that drew criticism over lack of parking and potential increased traffic chaos and sparked fears that low-income residents would be discplaced.

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  1. DiRT

    July 19, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Just make a deal with PSV for Columbus and let Precourt move his ops to Austin. 2 birds; 1 stone.

  2. F⚽⚽tball rules the W⚽rld

    July 19, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Unfortunately this town called Miami is run by banana republic politicians who are so myopic unless they are the ones who get the benefit$.

  3. Gary

    July 19, 2018 at 6:55 am

    My hometown Miami – why is something so wrong with such a progressive city? I grew up near Melreese and sure, my dad took my brother and I there to introduce us to a golf course. But that is just it….it is a golf course and other than fenced off green space, adds no value to the surrounding neighborhoods. Beckham and Mas need to acquire Atlanta United’s plans for what they are doing in the surrounding neighborhoods of Mercedes Benz. This area, once dilapidated, is being redeveloped into one of Atlanta’s many small communities that will eventually provide more housing and greater real estate appreciation. The green space being built around the stadium will provide thousands with a beautiful and safe place to play and picnic – certainly the residents surrounding Melreese cannot say the same?

    I recently relocated to Orlando from Atlanta and though I am Five Stripes through and through, and though OCSC has gone through a rough time on the field, they continue to invest in the surrounding neighborhood of OC Stadium, again an area that once was a very sore thumb to Orlando.

    As one of those Miami guys who grew up with the sport, enjoyed the Toros and the Strikers (was in Atlanta during the Fusion), I really would like to see Beckham and Mas get this done.

    • Kei

      July 19, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      I’ve lived in Orlando most of my life and have driven through every street within the city limits in my 20+ years here

      The area immediately surrounding the new stadium is virtually unchanged from before the stadium was built. The venue looks totally out of place relative to the rest of the neighborhood

      Try as the team may to hire a slew of Parramore residents as ushers and concession workers in a bid to bolster their “job creator” and “community asset” credentials, their arrival to the scene hasn’t resulted in a neighborhood revitalization that the team and its supporters claim is on its way to being realized… although, to the team’s credit, they did end up building the stadium using mostly private funds (albeit only they got fed up of waiting for the state to give them some more money for the project)

      Orlando/Orange County was helpless to stop another, much larger subsidy from being handed to the Magic for the construction of its new venue. I don’t know the particulars of the MLS Miami project from the public financing standpoint, but God help them if the voters there approve any scheme that involves the use of tax dollars toward this stadium, especially after the whole Marlins fiasco.

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