On Wednesday, judge Rodolfo Ruiz dismissed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County that challenged a land sale for a proposed Miami MLS stadium.
Earlier this year, Miami-Dade County voted to move forward with a proposal to sell three acres of land to a group that includes David Beckham for $9 million. The group, Miami Beckham United, needed the land to complete the nine acres slated for a proposed MLS stadium in Overtown.
Miami-Dade County made that decision as part of a no-bid land sale, citing a Florida economic development law that allows counties to waive the competitive bidding process for a sale of public land if the transaction provides economic benefit. Bruce Matheson, who owns property near the site, challenged the county in court by arguing that the land should have been put through a competitive bidding process.
After hearing arguments from both sides in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, Ruiz issued his ruling, but cautioned that the final decision could ultimately be made on appeal. More from The Miami Herald:
“It moots the whole process of drawing in investment,” he said. “Aren’t we effectively killing opportunity by opening up to bids when we’ve structured it in a way to create jobs and draw investment in?”
Though the ruling is a win for Beckham’s four-year quest for a Miami stadium, it does not offer legal finality. Ruiz said the law involving no-bid land sales is tricky, and that Matheson’s lawsuit would likely be decided on appeal.
“I found this to be an extremely challenging decision,” he said. “Brighter minds than me will tell me whether I was right or wrong.”
Beckham and his group have been working for years to build a privately-financed stadium in Miami that would house an MLS expansion franchise. The proposal in Overtown calls for the construction of a 25,000-seat stadium on a nine-acre site.
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