A Miami MLS stadium plan for the city-owned Melreese Golf Course is expected be revealed next month, a step needed to be placed on the November ballot.
MLS officially awarded an expansion club to Miami in January. The group backing the team is headlined by David Beckham, and also features prominent local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, American Idol founder Simon Fuller, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. A nine-acre site in the city’s Overtown neighborhood was long expected to be used for a new stadium, but reports have indicated that the group has broadened the scope of the project to include other amenities, meaning that it may need to pursue a larger site.
Melreese Golf Course, located near Miami International Airport, has been floated as an option for the stadium, but Miami officials will put any plan up to voters in a November referendum. To make the November election, the MLS group would have to have its measure approved by Miami commissioners. The deadline for commissioners to submit the measure to Miami-Dade’s elections department is August 7, meaning that a vote would have to come on July 12 or July 26 unless a special meeting is scheduled.
While no formal plans for a stadium at Melreese have been publicly presented to this point, it is anticipated that the MLS group will make a public pitch to city officials on July 12. More from the Miami Herald:
Sources familiar with the proposal have told the Miami Herald that [Jorge] Mas is seeking meetings with all five Miami commissioners this week to present a plan, which will include a stadium, hotel and retail space, several public soccer fields and a large public park.
Sources said the team tapped Miami-based Arquitectonica to develop conceptual images, which is expected to debut publicly at the July 12 commission meeting at City Hall.
The Beckham group did not respond to the Herald’s request for comment. But an hour after this story was published online Tuesday night, Mas sent tweets confirming that plans will soon be revealed for a “world class park, soccer village and tech hub.”
When a Univision journalist asked if the plans involve Melreese, Mas responded, in Spanish, that the plans would be revealed on July 12 — the day of the Miami commission meeting.
A move to Melreese would effectively provide a site with more room than Overtown for a broader stadium project, allowing the group to develop surrounding amenities. It is not the only alternative to Overtown that has surfaced in recent months, as the group has also been linked to a privately owned location in suburban Doral.
Melreese is the only public golf course within the city limits, and it is expected that any ballot measure would face some opposition to redeveloping the site for a new stadium project. While it did not require voter approval, the proposed Overtown site comes with its own hurdles, including a legal challenge from Bruce Matheson. He has sought to argue that the Miami-Dade County-owned land that accounts for a portion of the Overtown site was sold below fair market value and should have been subjected to a bid process, though the county has countered by arguing that Florida economic development law allows it to waive the competitive bidding process if the transaction provides economic benefit. He lost his first legal challenge when his lawsuit was dismissed, but later filed an appeal that was heard earlier this month.
Stadium rendering reflects plans for Overtown site.
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