Land deal for proposed Inter Miami CF stadium drawing controversy

Critics questioning whether it’s best deal the city can get

A photo rendering of the proposed new Inter Miami CF stadium. (WPLG)

MIAMI – After years of negotiating and fine-tuning a mega land deal for the Melreese Country Club, Miami City Commissioners are close to making a decision on a proposed plan that would bring a permanent 25,000 seat stadium for David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF soccer franchise.

Beckham’s business partner, Jorge Mas, said on ESPN that he would also develop a hotel, office and retail space on the property.

“This is a 100% privately financed deal,” Mas said to ESPN. “It’s gonna generate an economic benefit that Marlins Park doesn’t for the city. Besides the 15,000 jobs, it’s gonna create over $40 million a year in tax revenue.”

But a mini-documentary produced by filmmaker Billy Corben, a critic of the deal, is making the rounds and calling attention to the idea of giving Beckham a 99-year no-bid lease offered under market value.

“The goal was to drag this out of the shady back rooms and into the sunshine where the community can be better informed about what was happening with their property,” Corben said. “We can have a more transparent and accountable process.”

The discussion on “This Week in South Florida” involved Marlins President David Samson, who appears in Corben’s documentary and helped negotiate the ballpark for the Marlins, which at the time, was considered a bad deal for taxpayers.

The 131 acres up for grabs in the Melreese project has eerie similarities, according to Samson.

“The issue is, is this the best deal that the city can get for that amount of land, not including the soccer stadium?” Samson said.

About the Author:

Terrell Forney joined Local 10 News in October 2005 as a general assignment reporter. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, but a desire to escape the harsh winters of the north brought him to South Florida.