FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Fort Lauderdale commissioners agreed unanimously Tuesday to move forward with David Beckham’s vision for bringing his soccer training facility to Fort Lauderdale and injecting new life into Lockhart Stadium.
If all goes as Beckham plans, the construction of the 18,000-seat stadium with a shade canopy at 1350 NW 55th St. in Fort Lauderdale should begin in July and will be ready for Inter Miami CF to play there during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
After a vote to rank Beckham's Inter Miami CF proposal higher than the FXE Futbol proposal, the commission voted Tuesday afternoon to allow negotiations to begin. Mayor Dean Trantalis and Commissioner Ben Sorensen celebrated the decision to accept the estimated $30 to $60 million investment.
"It's a great day for Fort Lauderdale," Sorensen said.
During the round-table meeting, comissioners watched animated renderings on a flat-screen television of visions by architecture firms hired by Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer franchise, and FXE Futbol, a United Soccer League franchise.
Both of the plans involve demolishing the abandoned stadium, which first opened in 1959 and was named after a former Fort Lauderdale commissioner. Commissioners liked Inter Miami CF's designs by Manica Architecture, which specializes in the design of international sport venues.
Commissioners supported Inter Miami CF's vision to use private funding to design, develop, build and operate the new stadium on the 64 acres of public property near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
Ray Hudson, 63, was ecstatic. The former English soccer player has good memories at the now-abandoned Lockhart Stadium. After playing for Newcastle United, he moved to South Florida in 1977 to play for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The midfielder was injured during his last game with them in 1992 and went on to coach the Miami Fusion, a former MLS team based out of Lockahart Stadium. He now works as a commentator for beIN Sports and radio host for SiriusXM FC 157.
When Inter Miami CF moves to Miami Freedom Park, Inter Miami CF promised not to abandoned the property. Beckham and his partners are applying for a USL franchise, and Hudson will likely be back.
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