Details Emerge on New Miami MLS Stadium Proposal


Details have emerged on a new Miami MLS stadium proposal, with the plan calling for the facility to anchor a larger development on Melreese golf course

The Miami MLS expansion club is backed by a group that 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. It was long expected that the club’s stadium would be constructed on a nine-acre site in Overtown, but a search for a larger location that can accommodate surrounding development has led the group to the city-owned Melreese golf course.

No renderings have been publicly released to date, but some details have emerged on a plan that will be presented at a Miami commissioners meeting on July 12. The stadium project calls for the MLS group to enter into a long-term lease to use the site for a development that will include a new 28,000-seat stadium, 138,000 square feet of retail and dining space, 12,000 square feet of entertainment space, and more. In addition, the group would fund a 58-acre public park through a $20 million contribution paid over 20 years while leaving the adjacent baseball fields and Grapeland Water Park intact.

The July 12 meeting will come as the MLS group seeks to have it proposal sent to the November voter ballot by commissioners. More from the Miami Herald:

Beckham and his partners, which include local business giants Jorge and Jose Mas, want to turn Melreese golf course into a 73-acre soccer, commercial and hotel complex and a 58-acre park. All would be privately funded under the terms of a 39-year lease, which could be extended to 99 years. The city would receive annual rent of about $4 million to $5 million, and the owners would pay taxes on the rezoned park land, which does not currently contribute to the tax rolls.

The near-quixotic, multi-year quest to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami will take a new turn July 12, when commissioners will consider sending a question to voters: Should Miami change its laws so that commissioners could accept a no-bid deal that would drastically repurpose the golf course next to Miami International Airport?

The Melreese proposal, already creating controversy among supportive soccer fans and opposition who believe Melreese should remain a golf course, further confirms that the Beckham group is no longer considering land it owns in Overtown for a stadium.

Overtown was first announced as the preferred site for an MLS stadium in late 2015. However, for the last several months, reports have been indicating that the new emphasis on development surrounding the stadium had led to a move away from Overtown and toward another site.

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. Backers of the stadium project will be making their case as well, meaning that if the ballot measure moves forward it will draw plenty of attention over the coming months.

Stadium rendering reflects plans for Overtown site.

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