David Beckham Plans To Build Major League Soccer Stadium In Miami

After years of stops and starts, it appears David Beckham's Major League Soccer franchise in Miami is growing closer to becoming a reality.

"Commissioners voted 9-4 this afternoon to sell a county-owned parcel of land in Overtown to Beckham's group for $9 million - the final piece of land needed to begin work on a stadium next to the Miami River". On top of the $19 million he and his group paid for the first six acres, they will now need to pony up another $9 million for the last three acres. The stadium would also be subject to county property tax.

The last hurdle for Beckham and his group is to get approval for a new franchise in Miami by MLS officials. The Miami Fusion actually played about a half-hour's drive north in Fort Lauderdale, and folded because of poor attendance. "Now is the time for MLS to move forward in helping us deliver the soccer club that Miami has been waiting for".

Miami-Dade County commissioners rubber-stamped the deal with a vote of nine to four in favour, although it still requires approval from the city of Miami.

Beckham's team hopes to secure this deal by the end of June with the MLS Board of Governors.

There's zoning issues with the city to deal with, some members of the ownership group who will fund the estimated $220 million in construction costs have not been revealed yet - and MLS still has not awarded Miami an expansion franchise.

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"As far as sports deals go with the county, this one isn't so bad", Commissioner Joe Martinez said.

The deal that allowed the Miami Marlins to get a new taxpayer-built baseball ballpark on the former Orange Bowl site is still a source of major contention for the city and the county.

The planned stadium site is located in Overtown, just outside of downtown Miami, after sites along Miami's waterfront and near Marlins Park hit heavy opposition. All that was left was to buy the third plot of land from Miami-Dade County.

According to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the funds from the $9,015,000 purchase will be for the Water and Sewer Department, which now owns of the piece of land. The city is also now home to Miami FC, which began play in the second-tier NASL previous year, playing home games at Florida International University.

"In the background, we've spent a lot of time on our training academy and where it should be and what it should do, also have been working on a management team, our name and logo and colors".

  • Michelle Webb