The final details on a soccer stadium in Little Havana — owned by the Miami-Dade School Board and built and operated by David Beckham and his partners — may have just been hammered out at the SoHo Beach House in South Beach last night. That's where Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Beckham met in person to discuss the project.
Only a few holdout property owners in the area likely stand between the plan and an official vote with the school board, which is expected to back the deal.
"I'd expect we'll see a proposal before the board right before or right after Thanksgiving," school board member Raquel Regalado tells New Times. "I think it will be unanimous support from our board."
Beckham and his partners have good reason to move
The group has been on a charm offensive this week, with an op-ed in the Miami Herald from Tim Leiweke, a partner in the group, spelling out the proposed benefits: Beckham's team would build the stadium with entirely privately financed capital and would pay above fair-market value for the land next to Marlins Park.
The team would offer the stadium for free to the school board for events including football games and graduations and would pay any property taxes on the land, Leiweke says, plus a half-million a year to the city for maintenance.
The package as a whole would mean a real benefit to the school system, Regalado says, including more than a million dollars annually saved in rental fees for big events,
"When the AA Arena was done, it was tax exempt, and the school board got nothing. When the Marlins Park deal was done, it was tax exempt, and the school board got nothing," Regalado says. "We are always a consideration after the
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There's also lingering questions over why Beckham's group would be exempt from higher property taxes that would come with the massive stadium project once it's built. But Regalado says the benefits going to the city and school board would outweigh those lost revenues.
If Beckham's group gets approval from the board and from the city commission, the plan would still go before voters in a referendum next year.