Beckham group releases first image of proposed stadium complex, ‘Miami Freedom Park’

David Beckham and his partners have released the first image of a proposed stadium complex and park that would replace a city-owned golf course near Miami International Airport and provide a home for a future Major League Soccer franchise.

An image and video shared Sunday by the group provide the first visuals of how Beckham and partner Jorge Mas, of infrastructure firm MasTec, want to redevelop Melreese Country Club, the golf course at Northwest 37th Avenue and the Dolphin Expressway — less than a week before a City Commission meeting where Miami’s elected officials will consider putting the proposal to a referendum in November.

The group also released a summary of its vision with some new details, which includes a 25,000- seat stadium, restaurant and retail space, and office park, hotels, soccer fields, a public park and a “golf entertainment facility” — a redevelopment plan the group says will cost $1 billion.

As more details are slowly revealed and flashy visuals make the rounds on social media, questions remain about whether Miami would be getting a good deal under the proposed lease terms, if the city should be leasing out public land for private development of office space that could reap a significant benefit for developers, and whether Miami’s only city-owned golf course should be redeveloped at all.

Mas shared the new image and video with the Miami Herald and tweeted it out Sunday afternoon.
“I proudly give you a teaser,” he wrote in his tweet, which included an aerial of an architectural rendering of the redeveloped site, which is being called Miami Freedom Park.

Shortly after sharing the first image, Mas tweeted a video that shows flyover visuals of the stadium complex. Mas also provided the Herald with a fact sheet that includes new details that update figures published by City Hall in its agenda for Thursday’s meeting.

Miami Freedom Park and the complex around it would include:

▪A 25,000-seat stadium
▪ 600,000 square feet of entertainment, restaurant and retail space

▪ 400,000 square feet of office space — a dramatic reduction of the one million square feet listed in the agenda for Thursday’s meeting.

▪ A golf entertainment facility, a new feature that had not been previously disclosed

▪ 3,750 parking space, most of them underground, under 23 acres of public soccer fields.

▪ 750 hotel rooms

▪ 110 acres of open green space

Mas and Beckham have for months been quiet as they developed the plan to replace Melreese Country Club, a city-owned golf course that is managed privately under an agreement with the city.

Mas and Beckham are scheduled to unveil a detailed proposal at 2 p.m. Thursday before the Miami City Commission. They will ask commissioners to hold a referendum in November so voters can decide if they want to lease the public land to the soccer group, who would privately fund construction of the complex under a proposed 39-year lease, with an option to extend the lease to 99 years.

The team owners would pay $4 million to $5 million in rent to the city annually and pay state, county, city and school board taxes on 73 acres of rezoned land, an estimated $44 million in new annual taxes across all jurisdictions.

The visuals released Sunday show a stadium on the northwest side of the current Melreese site, with hotels and an office complex immediately east of the stadium on the north end. A park runs along the east side of the property, a stretch of retail and restaurant space extends south from the stadium next to the public soccer fields on the west end of the site. A large screen on the exterior of the stadium would display games for park visitors outside. The park space would include a tear-drop shaped lake with what appears to be a sandy shore.

Soccer aficionados have eagerly awaited the debut of the Melreese plan. Opposition to the proposal is also burgeoning, from golfers to green space advocates. Thursday’s commission meeting is expected to have strong showings from both sides.

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