What’s up with Beckham’s soccer stadium?

Garth Rose

Delays plague stadium for MLS Team

Caribbean-American soccer enthusiasts are again concerned if the anticipated Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium to be built by English soccer star David Beckham in South Florida will be a reality.

“We can’t get information on what is holding up commencement,” says West-Kendall soccer coach, Richard Bramwell, who led a grassroots campaign last year for the county to support the plan. “There’s significant potential from soccer as an organized sport in South Florida. The presence of the MLS team and the soccer stadium would be added incentive in seeing this potential realized.”

In February, 2014, there was elation among soccer fans when Beckham, MLS officials, Miami-Dade and Miami officials jointly announced Beckham received approval to bring an MLS team to Miami.

Since then, the Beckham Group, has experienced several delays in securing an appropriate stadium site. Last year after planning to build the stadium in conjunction with the Miami-Dade School District on lands close to the Florida Marlins Park in Miami, those plans were shelved to build the stadium on a 9-acre site in Overtown, based on agreements reached with Miami-Dade County.

Attempts to obtain information from the Beckham Group as to the delay in commencing the building of the stadium have been fruitless. County officials said the work will commence soon, without offering a time frame for “soon.”

However, according to reports the holdup is a result of the Beckham Group’s delay in agreeing to the county’s proposals in exchange for a parcel of three acres of land owned by the county to be included in the nine acres to build the stadium.

The county’s proposal seeks the Beckham Groups commitment to paying market value for the land, employing local residents at the stadium, paying fines if these hiring targets are not met, benefits for stadium workers, and a package of benefits to boost Overtown’s economy. The county proposals also include a $1 million fine if the stadium isn’t built.

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The reports stipulate the proposed community-benefit package is the issue creating the delay in the agreement being finalized.

“This is very frustrating,” said Bramwell. “I’m not privy to the issues that are delaying the building of the stadium, but hundreds of soccer enthusiasts, youth and adults, who are motivated by playing soccer are anticipating the MLS soccer in Miami. There’s significant gains and potential from soccer as an organized sport in South Florida. The presence of the MLS team and the soccer stadium would be added incentive in seeing this potential realized. Players and fans have been tantalized by this proposed MLS team and stadium for over two years. Either the stadium is going to be built and be a major boost to soccer in the region, or the plans are scrapped and let soccer fans and players deal with alternative reality.”

 

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