Hurricane Irma didn’t stop David Beckham’s organization from making its first payment on county land for a Miami stadium, a milestone that had been delayed to secure backing by Major League Soccer.
The $450,000 payment on Friday represents a small portion of the $9 million purchase price that Miami-Dade granted Beckham in June. The deadline was Sept. 10, the day of Irma’s expected landfall in South Florida. A spokesman for Beckham and Miami-Dade both confirmed the payment. Beckham’s group said a statement would come after the storm passes.
Beckham plans a 25,000-seat stadium in Overtown, and signed Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly as the majority owner and controlling partner. Major League Soccer owners in August gave tentative approval to a Miami team at a deep discount from the typical $150 million expansion fee that the league charges new teams. Beckham was given an option to buy a franchise for $25 million when he played with the MLS Los Angeles team a decade ago.
The Beckham group still has about a year to pay the bulk of the money for the three acres of county land, and has already purchased six acres of privately owned real estate for the site. But the group faces a lawsuit challenging the county’s no-bid land sale, which Miami-Dade said complied with special procurement rules set up for economic-development projects.
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The deal with Miami-Dade gave the Beckham group the summer to make the first payment on the county land, which is currently used as a truck depot for the Water and Sewer Department. The delay was to give Major League Soccer time to approve the expansion agreement.