For David Beckham and M.L.S., a Miami Marriage at Last

For David Beckham and M.L.S., a Miami Marriage at Last


Still, officials here were happy to bask in the glory of an apparently successful deal with a newly configured ownership group for the Beckham team and stadium that includes Sprint’s chief executive, Marcelo Claure; the company’s chairman, Masayoshi Son; the entertainment mogul Simon Fuller; and Jorge Mas and his brother, José R. Mas, members of one of Miami’s most well-known Cuban exile families and the owners of Mastec, an engineering and construction company based in nearby Coral Gables.

“The stars have aligned,” Carlos A. Giménez, the Miami-Dade County mayor, said in a telephone interview on Monday morning. “There were a lot of false starts, a lot of obstacles to overcome. David persisted and persisted, and when a door closed, there was always another one.”

Beckham’s path to a stadium here, initially announced in February 2014, was anything but smooth. His first plan was to build it in the county-owned PortMiami, but the cruise industry, heavily invested in the harbor, put up roadblocks to the deal. Later plans to put up stadiums at the waterfront in downtown Miami and in the Little Havana neighborhood, next to Marlins Park, ran into their own crippling hurdles.

And, although the deal is all but sealed for the Overtown location, at least one legal challenge remains. It concerns part of the proposed site, a 2.8-acre lot owned by the county and used as a storage depot and garage for its water and sewer department. In a lawsuit filed last summer, Bruce C. Matheson, a wealthy Miami landowner, challenged the county’s approval of the $9 million sale without its having allowed for competitive bids. County officials argued that Florida law permits such no-bid transactions involving public land if they result in wider economic benefits. In October, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit, but Matheson is appealing.

In addition, some residents of Overtown, traditionally one of the city’s poorest and most underdeveloped neighborhoods, have objected to the proposed stadium on the grounds that there is no official provision for job creation in the immediate area.

The proposed stadium has also rattled homeowners in the nearby Spring Garden neighborhood, settled in the 1840s and designated a historic district in 1997. Residents there fear the prospect of hordes of soccer fans within earshot will destroy their tranquillity.

But other residents nearby are unfazed. “It’s going to bring life and productivity to the area, as well as police and security,” said Alicia Pérez, 54, a retired secretary who lives in the Tuscan View apartment complex, just south of the proposed stadium site. “It’s going to be good. I don’t hear anyone complaining here.”



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