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Former England footballer David Beckham and businessman Jorge Mas face a key day in the construction of a stadium for Inter Miami on Thursday, although pressure is growing for the deal not to go through.
Miami city commissioners (councilmen) are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to accept the plan proposed by Inter Miami’s owners, who have been seeking a location for their stadium in the city for years.
After two failed attempts, they proposed to build a stadium with a capacity of about 25,000 spectators next to the Miami airport, but also an office building, a hotel, a commercial area and a sports complex.
But they do not have it easy. Of the five commissioners, one of them has already announced his rejection of the project, so they need all the remaining votes in their favor for the plan to go ahead.
And the pressure against the project is growing.
In addition to a short documentary by filmmaker Billy Corben criticizing the project, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida, Nikki Fried, this week questioned whether an agreement of this “magnitude” should be made when citizens need help to cope with the rising cost of living and high housing prices.
The critics were joined by two former city managers, Daniel Alfonso and Emilio Gonzalez, who participated in the negotiations of the agreement.
Alfonso and Gonzalez told the Miami Herald that the figures in the financial agreement should be revised upward to keep pace with rising land values in the city.
The contract would grant Inter Miami FC a 99-year lease on a piece of land near the airport where there is currently a golf course called Melreese Country Club.
The current draft establishes a rent starting at $3.57 million or 5% of gross operating revenues and rent increases should not exceed 4% each year.
Miami voters in 2018 approved giving Inter Miami exclusive rights to the land, but for some those figures were outdated and now, to close the deal, approval from four of the five city commissioners is required.
As the stadium in Miami did not materialize, the club decided to move two years ago nearby Fort Lauderdale, which is keeping a close eye on what is happening some 40 kilometers to the south to try to keep Inter Miami permanently in this tourist city and even change its name.
Despite the expectation of Thursday’s meeting, there is a possibility that the vote will be postponed for a fourth time, since the new land value assessment is not expected to be ready.