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MLS Turning Its Attention Toward Southeastern Expansion
Published September 17, 2013
WELCOME TO MIAMI: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman cited an MLS source as saying that while the city "remains high on the list of expansion cities, along with Atlanta and Orlando, none of the talks with potential Miami ownership groups have gone beyond the exploratory stages." There are "no stadium plans in place, as there are in Atlanta and Orlando, and that is the biggest question about the South Florida bid." The source said, "There is a lot of passion for soccer in Miami, and a lot of wealthy people are kicking the tires about MLS, and trying to partner with [David] Beckham, but Miami’s stadium plan is not as advanced yet as those in Atlanta and Orlando" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/16).
LAND GRAB: In Orlando, Mark Schlueb notes the City Council yesterday "voted to take two parcels of land if their owners won't sell," which would be "among the last parcels needed for a new soccer stadium for the team, a linchpin in its quest" for an MLS franchise. The city earlier this year "quietly bought 21 parcels of land along Church Street, a block west of the Amway Center," for $8.3M. It is the "preferred site" for an $85M stadium. The owners of three other parcels "have not agreed to sell." City officials said that they are "confident they can reach a deal" with one of the land owners, but they "aren't so sure about the other two." Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said that the sides will "continue to try to talk, but if negotiations fail the city will ask the Orange Circuit Court to allow it to take the property by eminent domain, essentially condemning the property" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/17).