MIAMI – David Beckham's dream of owning an MLS franchise in Miami moved a step closer to reality on Tuesday.
Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 9-4 to sell a three-acre parcel of land to Beckham that will allow him and his partners to build a soccer stadium in Overtown.
"We should be playing soccer by 2020," said Tim Leiweke, one of Beckham's partners, after the vote.
The purchase price is just over $9 million.
A county-owned truck depot currently sits on the site on the corner of Northwest Sixth Street and Northwest Sixth Avenue.
The entire 25,000-seat stadium project will take up nine acres at the location.
"I firmly believe that the sale of this property, as well as the subsequent soccer stadium, will leave a lasting positive impact on the community," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Commissioners Daniella Levine Cava, Jean Monestime, Javier Souto and Bruno Barreiro all voted against the recommendation.
Despite Tuesday's win, the Beckham group must still get zoning approval to build any stadium.
Even with his status as a soccer icon, Beckham has struggled to find a location for his prospective MLS franchise. Over the years, Beckham's desires to place his stadium in downtown Miami, PortMiami and next to Marlins Park have all been dashed.
A contract he signed in 2007 with the Los Angeles Galaxy gave Beckham the right to start an expansion franchise for $25 million, and in 2013 he picked Miami as where he would want to put a team.
"I will tell you this is probably the best site we have found, for many respects," Beckham group attorney Neisen Kasdin said, before listing reasons that include the site's proximity to several modes of public transportation and the Miami River.
The deal that allowed the Miami Marlins to get a new taxpayer-built ballpark on the former Orange Bowl site is still the source of major contention for the city and the county. There's also skepticism about the Beckham group's plan to build a stadium with no on-site parking, with plans instead to rely on shuttles, walking and public transportation.
"As far as sports deals go with the county, this one isn't so bad," Commissioner Joe Martinez said.
For more information about the deal, click here to download (.pdf) the memos.