Miami-Dade OKs MLS Stadium Negotiations With Beckham's Group, But Concerns Remain
While Miami-Dade County commissioners yesterday in a unanimous vote "gave the go-ahead for Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin negotiations" with David Beckham's group on a new, privately funded MLS stadium, some of them still "raised concerns about the behind-the-scenes proposal backed by Beckham’s investment group to build a stadium on county-owned land at PortMiami," according to Patricia Mazzei of the MIAMI HERALD. The group has identified the site "as its top choice," as it is "focusing on downtown Miami locations, citing MLS’ success in other cities drawing spectators to stadiums in urban centers near mass transit." Though the legislation approved yesterday "does not close the door on other investors interested in bringing a franchise, it mentions Beckham’s interest and authorizes Gimenez’s administration to kick off talks for a stadium in downtown, without defining any specific boundaries." Several commissioners who "favor the seaport’s long-term plan to develop mixed-use commercial and residential properties said they’re unsure about a stadium going up at the site." Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa: "I don’t see the relation of a soccer stadium with the big boats and the big cargo that is coming from Panama" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/18). REUTERS' Zachary Fagenson noted Beckham's group is "not looking for public financing, but may need to negotiate site plans with the county, such as leasing the port location, to help build a privately financed stadium" (REUTERS, 12/17).