SBD/December 12, 2013/Facilities

Miami-Dade County Ready To Take First Look At Potential MLS Stadium Sites

A Miami-Dade County Commission vote scheduled for next Tuesday would authorize Mayor Carlos Gimenez' administration to identify possible MLS stadium sites and "negotiate construction contracts with any interested private developers," according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. That would begin "talks in earnest" between the county and David Beckham and his investors, who have "approached Gimenez about building a 25,000-seat stadium on public land on PortMiami's Dodge Island." Even if the seaport were to be "deemed unsuitable, the legislation before commissioners would limit any other sites to downtown, an area of imprecise borders that both Beckham and MLS have identified as the preferred location to attract soccer fans." His investment group, Beckham Brand Limited, created a "new Florida corporate entity this week, Miami Beckham United, specifically for the project, and registered veteran lobbyist Jose Villalobos as another one of its County Hall representatives." Tuesday’s resolution would allow Gimenez to "'negotiate and finalize' agreements to develop a stadium and then present the contracts to commissioners for approval." Three public meetings would be "required before any vote." The legislation is "sponsored by Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, whose district includes downtown." Barreiro's legislation would "set terms for Gimenez's negotiations, chief among them that no county funds be used toward the soccer stadium." If the stadium were to be "built on county-owned land such as the seaport, then the developer will have to pay rent, the resolution says." It does "not specify whether the rent would have to be at market rate" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/12).

BRONX BOMBER: In N.Y., Charles Bagli notes Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio "did not immediately embrace the proposal" for a Bronx soccer stadium for MLS expansion club NYC FC in part because current Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan "entails tax breaks, the sale or lease of public land and public financing." de Blasio spokesperson Lis Smith said, "We have real concerns about investing scarce public resources and forgoing revenue to support the creation of an arena for a team co-owned by one of the world's wealthiest individuals, and will review any plan with that in mind." The stadium is on a "long list of projects" that Bloomberg has been "eager to nail down before he leaves office at the end of the month" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12). But FS1's Regis Philbin said, "I love this idea. More teams in New York means more opportunities for winning. These days, we need every chance we get to win a game. Soccer in New York, it’s here!” He added, “I have just one complaint: They’re building this new stadium to seat 28,000 fans. This is New York, baby, make it 128,000" (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 12/11).
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