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Front Page » Top Stories » Melreese golf course leasing to Beckham team on fast track

Melreese golf course leasing to Beckham team on fast track

Written by on February 19, 2019
Melreese golf course leasing to Beckham team on fast track

Some Miami commissioners are eager to learn where things stand as administrators negotiate a long-term lease for a city-owned golf course adjacent to Miami International Airport.

A lease would clear the way for David Beckham and partners to build a Major League Soccer stadium on what today is Melreese Golf Course, along with a sweeping mixed-use commercial development, Miami Freedom Park

Commissioner Manolo Reyes, one of two ‘no’ votes last July to place the deal on the November ballot, brought up the Melreese site on Feb. 14. He was hoping to force the hand of City Manager Emilio González, ordering him to bring the final proposed lease to a commission vote before this November’s election.

The two commissioners who voted against placing the deal on the November 2018 ballot were Mr. Reyes and Wifredo “Willy” Gort. Mr. Reyes is up for re-election this fall and Mr. Gort is term limited, so someone else will represent his district. Mr. Reyes wants a vote on a final lease before the fall election, while he and Mr. Gort remain on the commission.

Without a vote, commissioners directed Mr. González to report on the status of lease negotiations Feb. 28, along with a call for a lease before the fall election and that no outside consultants on the deal be hired without commission approval.

“This is a massive development,” said Mr. Reyes. “I want a commitment that this [lease] will be brought before the November election – before the November election.”

He added, “I am up for re-election. Those in favor [of the deal] may use as a tactic: ‘Let’s wait and get this guy out.’”

City voters in 2018 approved authorizing talks on a 99-year city lease with Miami Freedom Park LLC for 73 acres, waiving bidding, converting Melreese to a soccer stadium, 1 million square feet of office, retail, commercial uses, 750 hotel rooms and more, and a 58-acre park.

5 Responses to Melreese golf course leasing to Beckham team on fast track

  1. anonymous

    February 21, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    It’s interesting that a commissioner would need to pressure them to bring this forth before November as Major League Soccer contractually needed a certificate of construction by then-hence the big rush.

    In any case, statistically 3 out of every 5 city of Miami voters voted for negotiations, and there seems to be an equal amount of commissioners willing to support a final approval, however that falls short of the required 4 out of 5 needed to do so.

    It will be interesting to see what they do.

  2. Elvis Cruz

    February 26, 2019 at 7:20 am

    With this precedent, maybe the City will support building high rise office towers, hotels, shopping malls and stadiums in all of Miami’s parks.

    City of greed.

  3. Mike March

    February 27, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I am grateful to Commissioner Reyes for taking a stand on this issue.

    I hope that whomever is running for Commissioner Gort’s seat in District 1 this fall will recognize everything Melreese and the First Tee program do for our community, and will also vote not to uproot what is already a successful operation.

    I am disappointed that Commissioner Russell, well aware of the toxic ash underneath this site and the expense of cleaning it up elsewhere, would vote to potentially pass this burden onto county taxpayers if the site is redeveloped.

  4. Terry

    March 5, 2019 at 10:40 am

    As a golf course this is green space in name only. Golf is an exclusive and exorbidently expensive sport. Apart from the select few in the first tee program the wider community is completely excluded from that space.

    Better a soccer stadium with community accessible practice fields, and a massive new public *park* truly open to the public to enjoy – without fees and expensive golf equipment.

  5. Elvis Cruz

    March 6, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Terry, the soccer stadium is only 10% of the proposal. You didn’t mention the high rise office building, the high rise hotel, or the shopping mall that are also part of this scam.

    If Miami doesn’t want a golf course there anymore, then the ENTIRE property should be turned into a big, beautiful park – instead of turned over to politically well-connected billionaires in a sweetheart deal.