Inter Miami CF faces competition in its Lockhart Stadium redevelopment effort, as a separate proposal calls for a sports and entertainment complex anchored by a renovated facility.
Late last month, it was revealed that Inter Miami CF–the MLS expansion club backed by a group that includes David Beckham–is pursuing the site of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale for a new training complex. The club’s proposal calls for MLS training space, along with fields for the organization’s youth academy, a facility for a potential USL squad, and community spaces.
The club is not the site’s only suitor, however, as OnSide Entertainment CEO John P. Reynal has been working on a plan for Lockhart Stadium. Under his proposal, the stadium would be renovated to accommodate a Division II USL Championship squad, while the surrounding land would be redeveloped to include soccer and multi-purpose fields, dining and retail options, and a Topgolf facility. More from the Sun-Sentinel:
On the other side: John P. Reynal, CEO of OnSide Entertainment soccer company, said he’s been working on a proposal for Lockhart for two years. His FXE Futbol offer: a $100 million complex including renovation of the stadium and creation of a “full-on sports entertainment facility” with restaurants, shops, a Topgolf attraction and professional soccer/multi-purpose fields.
FXE Futbol promises to bring Fort Lauderdale its own USL Championship soccer team. The USL Championship professional men’s soccer league is a tier beneath the MLS team Beckham’s group will field, but it would play at Lockhart, not in Miami.
“They have the Beckham name and the star power, but what they’re proposing is a Miami project brought to Fort Lauderdale at the last minute,’’ Reynal said.
Lockhart Stadium redevelopment in some form is a priority for Fort Lauderdale officials, as the facility has gradually deteriorated since the NASL’s Strikers played their last match there in 2016. City commissioners voted Tuesday night to allow 21 days for other interested parties to submit proposals for the 64-acre site, part of a process that could lead to a decision down the road. Located near Fort Lauderdale Executive Aiport, Lockhart Stadium is a facility that opened in 1959 and has been home to numerous soccer clubs in the past, including MLS’s Miami Fusion (1998-2001) and multiple incarnations of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The proposal for a training complex comes as Inter Miami CF lines up facility plans ahead of its 2020 launch. A proposed stadium and surrounding development near Miami International Airport is where the club wants to play home matches, but it is still negotiating that proposal and would need an alternate venue for at least one season if it begins play in 2020 as anticipated.