Beckham group now looks to Overtown MLS site

Overtown MLS stadium

After several attempts to get the endeavor off the ground, David Beckham is moving closer to bringing an MLS squad to Miami. Beckham and his group, Miami Beckham United, have settled on the neighborhood of Overtown, with a nine-acre parcel in the southwest section of the area being eyed for a 25,000-seat facility.

In recent public meetings details about the new stadium have emerged. For instance, the rendering at the top of this page — as first reported by the Miami Herald — was unveiled at a Dec. 17 public meeting, where Tim Leiweke, a partner in Miami Beckham United, showed that an Overtown stadium facility could work in a limited amount of space. Leiweke also said there were no plans for any major parking garages around the stadium. Instead, as , explained, the plan is for most fans to access the facility via mass transportation or by foot. More from the Miami Herald:

So far, the Beckham group so far has not divulged any plans for parking garages around the stadium, which Leiweke positioned as a positive for Overtown. “What we’re not going to do at the end of the day is take your neighborhood and build a bunch of concrete structures that are used 30 days a year,” he said. With the Culmer Metrorail station a few blocks away and nearly 7,000 parking spaces within a half-mile radius, Leiweke said the stadium won’t need garages.

As has been planned previously, the stadium will be privately financed. One major change in the proposal is in its ownership: Instead of asking a local governing body, as it had requested of the Miami-Dade County School Board for a proposal in Little Havana, Miami Beckham United will maintain ownership and pay property taxes on the stadium’s land. The site itself is split in ownership, with the private parcels already under contract. Miami-Dade County owns roughly a third of the acreage, and the Herald previously reported that the county will likely decide by the end of February whether to sell its share of the site.

At this point, little has been revealed about the final design—in fact, the rendering shown at the meeting was a concept from a previous proposal. While that means that most of the major details remain on the horizon, a few elements are already established. The stadium will likely seat about 25,000, and will include a canopy that shades most of the seating bowl, but leaves the field open to the elements. Should the canopy structure make the final design, it would make the stadium the second in the Miami area with that feature, as the Dolphins will add a comparable cover to Sun Life Stadium before next season.

Reaction to the proposal has been swift. Residents of both Overtown and nearby Spring Garden offered opinions from both sides at the public meeting, with some favoring the project for its economic potential and others expressing concerns about the environmental and quality-of-life impact the stadium would have on the area. MLS, which has previously stated its preference that the facility be accessible to downtown Miami, has come out in favor of the Overtown proposal.

There are still several steps looming for the proposal, including zoning approvals and land acquisition. However, if this moves forward, it will bring an end to a long pursuit for Miami Beckham United. Before Overtown entered the mix, the group had considered three different sites, including one near American Airlines Arena, another by the Port of Miami, and most recently, adjacent to Marlins Park in Little Havana.

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August Publications