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City of Miami commissioner falls; key Freedom Park vote delayed

Commissioner Reyes goes to hospital, postpones vote on Inter Miami CF's new home

Around 4 p.m., Commissioner Manolo Reyes addressed the fellow commissioners in the chambers during a brief recess, letting them know he was going to the hospital, and requested key items related to Inter Miami CF be postponed.

MIAMI, Fla. – The Miami City Commission postponed a vote today that would have addressed two agenda items that will impact the future of Miami's flagship Major League Soccer team.

Around 4 p.m., Commissioner Manolo Reyes addressed the fellow commissioners in the chambers during a brief recess, letting them know he had fallen and was going to the hospital.

"This wasn't planned. I miscalculated the steps and really hurt my arm, my elbow and I hit my head against the wall. I am still woozy," Reyes, who sponsored both resolutions for discussion in the evening session, said. "The fire chief wants to take me to Mercy Hospital for a couple of checks."

He then asked the committee to reschedule the items pertaining to the Melreese development project – the proposed build site for Inter Miami CF's permanent home — to "on or around Nov. 15."

The first agenda item was an approval vote regarding the current version of the 99-year lease agreement submitted to the city by the David Beckham-led ownership group. The proposed agreement would see roughly $3.5 million in rent paid per year to the city, in addition to the privately funded development of a 25,000-seat venue, retail spaces, hotels, public parks and office buildings that would net the city $40 million in annual tax revenue while costing taxpayers $0, the club said.

The second resolution item could delay the development of the Melreese Country Club site if the commissioners vote to halt negotiations with Freedom Park LLC, the entity working on behalf of Inter Miami, and instead reopen the site to competitive bidding. Commissioner Joe Carollo co-sponsored the resolution.

Commissioner Willy Gort, who, along with Reyes, is on record opposing the development plans, will exceed his term limit on Nov. 12 or Nov. 27, depending on whether or not there is an election runoff. Reyes has requested the special session fall somewhere in that window, adding uncertainty to when the development of the site moves forward.

In November 2018, Miami voters approved a referendum in November 2018 to allow Miami commissioners to negotiate the 99-year lease agreement, a critical step forward for MLS and Beckham, who have been working to bring a team to Miami since 2014.

Inter Miami CF will play its first two seasons in Fort Lauderdale starting in 2020.