Commissioners pass MLS stadium proposal on to referendum vote in November
SANTA MONICA — Fans in Florida are getting closer to having their second soccer team. David Beckham and Jorge Mas saw their soccer stadium plans passed to voters after Miami Commissioners voted a 3-2 win at City Hall on Wednesday.
Beckham and Mas proposed a plan four years ago to build their new MLS team stadium, Miami Freedom Park. However, at that time, the commissioners turned down the original plan. Now, its four years later the duo proposed a new plan to buy Melreese Country Club golf course for their new stadium location, office buildings and an entertainment complex.
The plan moves to a referendum on Nov. 6. Residents of Miami will cast their vote on whether to approve the plan for a no-bid lease for the 73 acre golf course.
“Good, a first step, the beginning of bringing this dream to a reality, you know, and I think here among the commission they’ve seen that this could be something I think unique and iconic that could show Miami’s best to the world,” majority owner Jorge Mas said. “So I’m very happy and now we’ve got to get to work.”
However, the win Wednesday was a small victory compared to what is to come. A petition circulates Miami in an effort to say the golf course that has hosted several big names in the world of golf including Tiger Woods, Erik Compton and Cristie Kerr. Kerr and Compton sits at the helm of the petition in effort to shut down the movement.
While the city originally offered the group three acres for $9 million in the city’s Overtown neighborhood, Mas joined the group and began searching for different locations, not liking the Overtown site. A few months later, Miami proposed the city-owned golf course as an alternative to the Overtown site.
The stadium proposal seats 28,000 seats and provide the city with nearly a $140 million in rent for 39 years, but the stadium isn’t all the city would be getting. Along with the $3.9 million a year rent, the Beckham group would help fund a future park with 58-acres by paying an extra $20 million over 30 years. The proposal also offers a technology park, underground parking facilities, public soccer fields, new hotel rooms, retail stores restaurants and a conference center as well as much more.
The group has agreed to more money and more guarantees in search of the no-bid deal with the city. Miami residents will vote on Nov. 6 whether to approve the no-bid lease proposal or force Beckham’s team to move on to location No. 5 for their stadium.