David Beckham talks about his plans of developing a stadium in Overtown
The Florida Supreme Court this week declined to wade into a legal fight over land that David Beckham once wanted for his Miami soccer stadium, a victory that also triggers a tight deadline for the Beckham group to pay about $900,000 to keep the three-acre property under contract.
Beckham’s old stadium site in Overtown includes six acres the soccer partnership already owns and three acres of land owned by Miami-Dade County. The partners have the county land under contract for $9 million, but have only paid a $450,000 down payment.
Another $901,500 installment was due in June 2018, but the administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez agreed to extend that deadline until the resolution of a legal challenge to the original, no-bid land deal the County Commission approved in 2017.
That challenge, by wealthy activist Bruce Matheson, failed at the trial level and then on appeal, with judges agreeing Miami-Dade had the authority under Florida’s economic-development laws to negotiate exclusively with the Beckham group to sell land for a 25,000-seat stadium.
Beckham has since dropped that stadium plan in favor of one at the city of Miami’s Melreese golf course site, surrounded by a mall, hotel and office complex the partnership would build, too.
On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear Matheson’s appeal. While a legal win for Miami-Dade and Beckham, it also eliminates the breathing room granted the Beckham group by the county while the Matheson challenge was underway.
In a June 6, 2018, letter to the Beckham group, Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt said the partnership would have seven days after the end of the legal challenge to notify the county whether it wanted to give up the three acres or keep it under contract. Keeping it under contract would require payment of the $901,500 within five days of the notification.
In a March interview with Magic City Soccer, Beckham’s lead local partner, Jorge Mas, said the Overtown site remains a potential back-up location if talks with Miami for the Melreese deal fall through.
Also in March, the partnership signed an agreement with Fort Lauderdale for a training facility on city land that will include an 18,000-seat stadium that will play host to the Major League Soccer franchise’s first two seasons, in 2020 and 2021.
There was no immediate comment from the Beckham group on the Supreme Court ruling.
The original county deal requires the Beckham group to build a soccer stadium on the property after purchasing the land. It’s unclear if Miami-Dade could alter the terms and entertain other options for the property.
Miami-Dade is pursuing a redevelopment of the nearby Culmer housing complex, which sits across the street from the six acres of private land the Beckham group purchased in 2016. Mas has said he’s interested in doing something “innovative” with the land in connection with the redevelopment.