July 12 – The David Beckham-led investment group behind Miami’s Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise may have been slow to secure the slot but is now gathering pace with meetings scheduled today with city officials regarding the plans for an ambitious new multi-use stadium complex.
It was finding a Miami location and winning local support for the new stadium that had held up the franchise award. That was overcome for the official MLS announcement to take place and plans are now for a $1 billion redevelopment of the Melreese Country Club, beside Miami Airport, make it one of the most ambitious developments of football-based facilities in the US.
Plans include a 25,000-seat stadium within the development which would be known as Miami Freedom Park. Also on the 130 acre+ site would be restaurant and retail space, an office park of more than a million sq ft, hotels with up to 800 rooms in total, football pitches, a public park and a golf entertainment facility.
The golf course is city-owned and half of it would be leased to the Beckham group for the development, proposed to be undertaken by local firm MasTec whose principal Jorge Mas is an investor alongside Beckham.
To get approval city councillors would need to put the proposal forward to a city referendum which would likely take place in November.
Terms of the funding – all of which would be privately financed – would see the complex site on a 39-year lease, according to the Miami Herald. That lease could be extended to 99 years. The city would receive annual rent of about $4 million, plus taxes on the re-zoned park land.
The Miami team is expected to start play in the MLS in 2020 but this development would unlikely be ready in time for that launch.
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