It’s been five years and the David Beckham stadium deal has become a mid-term election issue for the Miami MLS expansion team.
Miami mid-term election voters will decide just where the stadium goes for the David Beckham MLS team, Miami FC. It’s not a matter completely lacking in controversy.
The proposal would approve Beckham’s group building the stadium on Miami’s only municipal golf course near their airport. The proposal goes further, though, asking voters to waive a public-bidding law.
That part of the measure opens the gates for the Beckham group to have free reign in building a complex along with the stadium, to be called Miami Freedom Park.
Voters will approve the deal, easily. The endorsements and local public reactions testify to that. But if some voters get a bit queasy about removing the large project from public bidding law requirements, they should.
The law got put there for a reason: that such projects exempted from full public oversight in the past got into trouble. The only way this project could fail in mid-term elections would be removing it from the ballot. There is absolutely no chance of rethinking the public law exemption.
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With that in mind, voters should take heart that the Beckham group has worked hard to stay completely transparent throughout their development. And they have a five-year history of hearings and news releases with the Miami community. MLS expansion in Miami is serious and solid.
Supporters can take a deep breath and move on to consider what they get out of the deal. There’ll be a $1 billion complex with retail, hotel, offices and 25,000-seat stadium in a beautiful setting. It gets busy after everyone signs a 99-year lease. That includes the no-bid part.
Beckham partnered with local developers Jorge Mas and family. They operate a highly successful local engineering and construction firm, MasTech. They testified with Beckham that, under no circumstances, local taxpayers would take the burden of developing the 131-acre soccer and retail complex.
That testimony, backed by a respected family with stakes in the Miami community, made all the difference in getting the stadium vote to the mid-term elections. It also ensured the endorsements and positive public reaction, no less than the Miami Herald signed on to endorse Miami Referendum 1 – no. 378.
With heavy early turnout across the nation for the mid-term elections, the stadium deal for the Miami MLS expansion team may be all but done. Jorge Mas already said, there is no Plan B. They need to get voter approval.
The quality of the Miami MLS expansion team remains to be seen. But when it hits the pitch, it’ll be in one heck of a stadium complex.