Deal for Beckham's Miami soccer stadium land gets approval

Brunilde Fioravanti
Giugno 7, 2017

Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a deal Tuesday to sell three acres of county land to Beckham's group, the last part of what is a nine-acre plot on which a 25,000-seat stadium is planned. Many residents went before the commission to urge against the stadium being built in the city's Overtown neighbourhood.

In order to secure the land deal with the county, Beckham and his group agreed to invest at least $175 million in the stadium, according to Hanks.

"We are not here to take money from the county or the city, we will pay for this project ourselves, privately, we will pay property taxes and we will be good neighbors", Miami Beckham United official Tim Leiweke said. On top of the $19 million he and his group paid for the first six acres, they will now need to pony up another $9 million for the last three acres. There's also skepticism about the Beckham group's plan to build a stadium with no on-site parking, with plans instead to rely on shuttles, walking and public transportation. Beckham's group has said the cost of the stadium, which still needs to be approved by city planners, will be met by private investors with no public funds being used in its construction.

Beckham played his last MLS match in 2012 and formally announced Miami's expansion bid in early 2014. "Miami is the eighth largest metro area in the US, the country's number one soccer market, and a critical gateway to Latin America and Europe".

That's a tight crunch, and after four years of blown opportunities and several other attractive cities lining up for teams, there's no longer an iron-clad guarantee that MLS will give Beckham his team. Los Angeles FC will debut as team 23 next season, and the league is thought to be saving the 24th spot for Beckham's Miami franchise.

The vote came after an often contentious meeting where residents of nearby Spring Garden complained their quality of life would be wrecked by the massive project and concerns from commissioners that the county wasn't getting enough promises from MLS to improve transit or boost school budgets. They are expected to visit the stadium site on Wednesday. "You can't say the same thing for the [NFL's] Hard Rock Stadium, and that's been there for decades". Over the years, Beckham's desires to place his stadium in Downtown Miami, the Port of Miami and next to Marlins Park have all been dashed.

Beckham is not the only huge global name pursuing MLS expansion these days; Landon Donovan has joined the ownership group that is hoping to bring a team to San Diego - but it has not been easy going either.

In a pair of tweets, Donovan wrote that "we have to respect the process" and that "just because we're down at halftime doesn't mean we stop trying".

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