We have the first tangible step toward a new MLS stadium from David Beckham and crew, as the group has closed on a $19 million purchase of Miami stadium land in the city’s Overtown area.
The six acres won’t be enough for the planned stadium (shown in a conceptual form in the rendering above), but the group is expecting to buy an additional 2.8 acres of land from Miami-Dade County. Under Florida law, the Beckham group must pay market value for the land — $9 million, or $3 million per acres, which is roughly what the group paid for the other six acres.
“We have the right site, the right ownership group, and a loyal base of fans counting down the days until our first match,” Beckham partner Marcelo Claure, the CEO of Sprint, said in a statement. “We’re all-in on Overtown, and we couldn’t be more excited about moving forward with plans to deliver the most responsible stadium in Miami history.”
Beckham’s group envisions a 25,000-seat stadium, which would open for the 2018 season. Beckham has rights to a discounted MLS expansion franchise as part of a contract signed when he played for L.A. Galaxy. This will be an expensive undertaking: the group is paying market rates for the land, will pay full property taxes on the facility, and isn’t seeking any city subsidies. The only deviation from any regular land deal: the county is waiving the normal bidding process to sell 2.8 acres to the group.
The next step: receive full Miami-Dade County approval for the project, which is expected to generate some opposition. Mass transit does serve the site, but there’s no centralized parking, which means residents will need to put up with lots of street parking and traffic on game day. From the Miami Herald:
A top official in the Gimenez administration recently raised concern about the lack of parking in Beckham’s stadium plan, which relies on fans walking from a nearby Metrorail station and from thousands of parking spaces available at surface lots and garages within a half-mile radius. Beckham also must win support from the Miami City Commission, which must approve the actual stadium plans and the closing of Northwest Seventh Street to accommodate the venue’s two-block footprint.
A Gimenez spokesman said Thursday the negotiations with county officials remain on track, but declined to offer a timetable for when a deal could be ready for final approval by the 13-member county commission. “They’re working on it,” said Michael Hernández, Gimenez’s communications chief. “It’s just matter of it being done correctly, and getting it to the commission.”
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