Beckham Group faces hurdles prior to moving forward with MLS stadium

MIAMI (WSVN) - City of Miami voters supported David Beckham’s plan for Major League Soccer to come to South Florida, but there is still plenty work ahead for the group.

The “yes” vote in Tuesday election is a major score for Beckham’s MLS soccer stadium. Although Beckham celebrated the big win Tuesday night, there are still hurdles that the group needs to overcome before the stadium plan can move forward.

If the complex goes up in Miami, it’ll be built where the Melreese Country Club currently is located. The club is also the home to The First Tee program.

Soccer fans gathered at a public party held by the Beckham Group Tuesday night after the votes came in and showed that the public indeed wanted MLS in South Florida.

“We’re very proud of the team,” Beckham told 7News Tuesday night. “We’re very proud of the work that’s been done. We’re very proud that the people had their say.”

Their vote is just the beginning.

The vote means that the city can make a lease deal for city land without a competitive bidding process. At this point, the city manager and the Beckham Group will discuss the details of a lease for public land.

Once that’s done, the lease will have to be approved by four of the five commissioners to continue with the plan.

At least one commissioner said without a competitive bidding process, he cannot support any project on the land.

“I said it before. If they want to build a stadium, buy the land to build it,” said Commissioner Manolo Reyes. “I don’t think that we in Miami, we should be giving our parks for people to establish private businesses there, but if we were gonna do it, we should go through the process, and the process requires competitive bidding.”

Commissioner Willy Gort added that his vote will be what’s best for the city. The proposed plan would put the stadium in his district.

“The people got to analyze we got to make the decision that benefits the City of Miami,” Gort said.

Rebecca Wakefield, a spokesperson for Ken Russell’s District 2 office, said it’s too early to talk about his vote. She added, “He will be looking closely at the details before making a decision about whether this proposal is the right deal for Miami residents.”

Those who play golf at Melreese Country Club had hoped the project would find another location.

“I hope it doesn’t pass,” said one golfer.

“It would be very, very sad to lose it,” said another.

The projected plan is to have the stadium, a mall, park and a 750-room hotel, which will all replace the golf course.

This also affects The First Tee program. “If the commission is going to move forward, we’d ask for a seat at the table so we can do what we do, which is protect our program,” said First Tee board member Carlos Rodriguez, “and hopefully it enhances and expands our program and continues to impact kids in our community.”

Meanwhile, there is plenty of deal-making to be done before the MLS mission will reach its goal in Miami.

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