While Miami remains “slated” to debut as Major League Soccer’s 24th team in the 2019 season, it appears city commissioners are getting antsy with the recent lack of progress towards finalizing funding to build a 25,000-seat stadium on county-owned land in Overtown.
Xavier Suarez, a former Mayor of Miami and current city commissioner, voiced his concerns during a city meeting yesterday, via the Miami Herald:
“How long are we going to negotiate for the use of that [county-owned land] before we decide that maybe that ought to be made available for some affordable housing?” Suarez asked. “Are we going to wait for these folks forever before we use that property for something more?”
As of last week, Beckham’s group claimed they were still 100-percent committed to Miami, but they continue to steamroll internal deadlines in regards to making a “major announcement” that was supposed to occur by the end of 2016.
“In the private sector, every such development deal has a deadline,” Suarez tells Curbed. “Understanding that this has many moving parts, there is some flexibility; but it cannot be forever. We're looking at the contract language and will report back.”
County officials say they haven’t heard anything from Beckham’s team in months, with commissioners like Audrey Edmonson, whose jurisdiction entails Overtown, seemingly perplexed.
“Are they bringing a stadium there?” asked Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, whose district includes the proposed stadium site. “I haven’t heard anything.”
... As Overtown’s county commissioner, Edmonson would hold significant sway on the amount of resistance and horse-trading the Beckham group might face when trying to purchase the county’s three-acre site.
“They would have to get the residents in that area to agree to it,” Edmonson said in an interview. “I’m going to follow the lead of my Overtown residents.”
The ball remains in Beckham United’s court.