Inter Miami CF co-owner Jorge Mas says progress is being made on the club’s facility projects, including construction on a Fort Lauderdale stadium and long-term plans for a new Miami venue.
Set to begin play in 2020 as an MLS expansion squad, Inter Miami CF will initially stage home matches at a new stadium being built on the former Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale (rendering above). The stadium will anchor a larger training academy project, and Inter Miami CF’s upcoming USL League One squad will use the venue on a permanent basis.
Fort Lauderdale is intended to be a temporary solution for MLS matches, as Inter Miami CF continues discussions with Miami officials about a proposal for the city-owned Melreese Country Club site that includes a new stadium as part of the Miami Freedom Park development. While an agreement with Miami still has to be finalized, Mas indicated over the weekend that the club is making progress in that effort. Construction of the new Fort Lauderdale stadium is also moving along, with Inter Miami CF expecting to play its first match there in March. More from MLSsoccer.com:
When asked about contingency plans in case targets are missed, Mas didn’t see the necessity.
“We’ll be ready to be home,” Mas said without hesitation. “I’m anticipating that maybe our first or second game will be away, I’m anticipating that we’ll be opening in mid-March or the latter parts of March for our home opener. That should give us sufficient time. We’re targeting finishing the Ft. Lauderdale stadium on February 15 so we can have a few events there first so when we have our home opener, it’s smooth.”
As for the club’s future home at Miami Freedom Park, Mas is optimistic in the timeline as well.
“With Miami Freedom Park, we’re ongoing. We got a go-ahead from the city of Miami voters in last year’s referendum to negotiate a lease, bypassing the RFP (request for proposal) process,” Mas said. “We’re in the final stages of doing that. I’m hopeful in the next 45-60 days that we’ll get a green light from the city. We’re very well advanced on both tracks. The Miami Freedom Park project will be a wonderful project for the city, it’ll be an iconic destination. It’ll put Miami on the global map for soccer in terms of facilities. It’ll be an entertainment destination, a soccer destination, it’ll be a place where Miamians can gather. I’m very optimistic about where we are and what we’ll be able to build there.”
Last November, Miami voters approved a referendum that allows the city to negotiate a 99-year lease for the Miami Freedom Park project. The referendum did not finalize plans, however, as Inter Miami CF investors and Miami officials still have to work out the terms of a land lease and eventually have it approved by four of Miami’s five city commissioners.
Rendering courtesy Inter Miami CF.
RELATED STORIES: Unsafe Levels of Arsenic Found at Proposed Miami Freedom Park Site; Mas Confident in Status of Inter Miami CF Stadium Projects; Inter Miami CF Investors Submit Miami Freedom Park Draft Lease; Inter Miami CF to Relocate First Tee from Proposed Stadium Site; Inter Miami CF Unveils New Miami Freedom Park Renderings; Resolution Could Put Pressure on Miami Freedom Park Negotiations; Inter Miami CF’s Lockhart Stadium Plan Unveiled; Inter Miami CF Faces Competition for Lockhart Stadium Redevelopment; Inter Miami CF Training Academy Pitched for Lockhart Stadium Site; Beckham Group Pitching Inter Miami CF Training Academy; Attorney Files Two Lawsuits Over Miami Freedom Park Proposal; Ethics Commission Green Lights Miami MLS Stadium Negotiations; Beckham Group Pitching Inter Miami CF Training Academy; Best of 2018, #10: New Beckham Group Stadium Plan Emerges in Miami; Don Garber to Tour Potential Miami MLS Stadium Site; Voters Approve New Miami MLS Stadium; Miami MLS Stadium Referendum Approaching;