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Beckham group switches focus for Miami MLS stadium

The David Beckham-led group that is behind a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise for Miami will make a presentation next week to officials from the US city regarding a new stadium plan.

The Miami Herald newspaper said city commissioners will meet on July 12 to consider sending the question to voters of whether Miami should change its laws to accept a no-bid deal that would lead to the development of a stadium at a golf course next to Miami International Airport.

The Herald reported that Miami voters on November 6 could agree to let the city lease more than half of Melreese Country Club, a public golf course owned by the city, to the Beckham group, allowing it to develop a privately owned complex with a 28,000-seat stadium, one million square feet of tech-related office space and 500 to 800 hotel rooms.

The newspaper said a 39-year lease has been proposed, which could be extended to 99 years. The city would receive annual rent of between $4m (€3.4m) and $5m, and the owners would pay taxes on the rezoned park land, which does not currently contribute to the tax rolls. The stadium project also includes a commitment to develop a 58-acre public park on the site.

Mayor Francis Suarez has claimed Miami will benefit from the project due to the new tax revenue and park, which would be developed at no cost to the city. “You have a group that’s willing to pay fair market value for the land and privately finance a stadium and a new public park,” he said.

The Herald said the latest move is evidence that Beckham and his business partners are no longer considering the land they own in the Overtown area of Miami for a new stadium. In January, Beckham claimed victory in his long-running efforts to bring an MLS expansion franchise to Miami, but a number of question marks remained, including final details on the new stadium that will house the team.

The club will be owned by Beckham; Marcelo Claure, chief executive of telco Sprint and board member of SoftBank; Jorge and José Mas, the Miami-based leaders of telco and construction firm MasTec; Masayoshi Son, founder and chief executive of SoftBank; and entertainment entrepreneur and manager, Simon Fuller – a long-time Beckham associate.

It has been widely reported that the new team will begin play in 2020, although this is likely to be at a temporary site until the new stadium is developed. In January, the league said Miami’s team would play in a privately developed, 25,000-seat stadium in the city’s urban core.