If you’re a golfer who frequents Melreese Country Club, Miami’s only city-owned golf course situated east of Miami International Airport, odds are good that you’re not terribly excited about David Beckham’s proposed MLS stadium.
But if you’re a soccer fan and appreciate building projects that enhance Miami’s esteemed profile like we do, you’re probably counting down the days until the ground-breaking ceremony.
As of this writing, Beckham’s latest plan is set to convert 78 of Melreese’s 131 acres into a complex called Miami Freedom Park, including:
- A 28,000-seat soccer arena
- 600,000 square feet of entertainment, dining, and retail space, including 750 hotel rooms
- 400,000 square feet of office space
- A golf entertainment facility
- 3,750 parking spaces positioned underground beneath 3 acres of public soccer fields
- The remaining 110 acres will be converted into a public park and open green space.
- In addition, a large screen on the exterior of the stadium would display games for park visitors.
The plan will, according to reports, cost $1 billion, with Beckham’s management group paying $4 to $5 million in annual rent to Miami, and ten times that amount in annual county taxes.
It sounds like an amazing deal for all involved, but concerns remain about whether Miami should lease public land for private development of office space that could bring substantial gains to developers, as well as whether Miami’s only public golf course should be redeveloped. Just recently, the Melreese Country Club was the site of an arson attack when an individual set fire to dozens of golf carts. Early reports say the suspect had political motives tied to the proposed stadium deal.
But for those of us excited about the prospect of a huge construction endeavor that adds to the allure, elite athleticism, and stunning architecture of the city we call our own, this project is a welcome development.
Miami’s voters will have the final say on the project if the referendum measure makes it on November’s ballot. Tell us your opinion; which side will get your vote?
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