As the club prepares to begin play in Fort Lauderdale while pursuing a new Miami stadium, Inter Miami CF co-owner Jorge Mas is confident that its stadium projects will come together.
Inter Miami CF–an expansion club backed by an investment group headlined by David Beckham–is slated to begin MLS play in 2020 as an expansion team. For its initial seasons, the club will play home matches in an 18,000-seat venue at the site of Fort Lauderdale’s recently demolished Lockhart Stadium. The club’s goal is to play home matches there until a proposed stadium in Miami (rendering shown above), which would be part of a larger project dubbed Miami Freedom Park, is completed. After that, all home matches would be played in Miami, while the Fort Lauderdale stadium would host a USL club.
Miami Freedom Park is pitched for the city-owned Melreese Country Club near Miami International Airport, and redeveloping the site will require the organization to clear additional hurdles. While voters approved a referendum in November that allows the city to negotiate a 99-year lease for the project, it did not finalize plans. Inter Miami CF investors and Miami officials still have to negotiate a land lease and eventually have it approved by four of Miami’s five city commissioners, and it remains to be seen whether the club can reach that threshold.
Mas is expressing confidence that it can, and believes that negotiations with Miami officials are making progress. Meanwhile, he also expects that the new Fort Lauderdale stadium will be good to go for the 2020 season, noting the recent work that has been taking place on the project. More from MLSsoccer.com:
“I’m very confident that we’ll have close to 100 percent of the whole facility done by March,” Mas told reporters after a Board of Governors meeting, hours before the All-Star Game on Wednesday. “All of the timelines we needed to meet to get ready; we had to get it demolished, which we did at the end of May. We frankly did the demolition before we had the contract agreement signed. The majority of our site development work has already been done. We’re starting to put foundations in.”…
There’s still one more vote to be passed. After Miami residents approved a referendum for the team to begin negotiating a lease in November, they still have yet to present a lease to a commission of five, from which they need four votes of approval.
“We’re in current negotiations for the lease, the lease has not been finalized yet,” Mas said. “We’re anticipating that within the next 60 to 90 days we’ll have something in front of the commission. That’s taken a few more months than I would have liked, but I’m extremely confident that in the next 60 days we’ll be able to get that through and begin construction.”
Inter Miami CF’s upcoming stadium in Fort Lauderdale is being constructed as part of a project that will include the organization’s training academy. To make way for the project, both Lockhart Stadium and the adjacent Fort Lauderdale Stadium–a former spring training and Minor League Baseball ballpark–were demolished.
Rendering via Intermiamicf.com.
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