With Time Running Out, Beckham Settles For ‘Tainted’ Stadium Site

David Beckham’s option to own an MLS franchise at a discount will soon expire. Unable to find a suitable downtown site to build a stadium, he and his partners have agreed to begin negotiations for a site that they had made clear was a last resort.

MLS rejected the site as recently as last year, saying that it was their ‘strong belief’ was that the club would not be successful unless it was placed downtown, where millennials could walk to games. Beckham’s partner called the Orange Bowl site ‘spiritually tainted’ after the Marlins duped taxpayers to get their stadium built there in a multi-billion dollar scam.

Marlins Stadium has done little to stimulate the neighborhood, and it remains largely a drive-in, drive-out destination on game days. A few dozen games are unlikely to change that, even if they are of a different sport. Mayor Regalado said at a press conference last week that in Miami ‘we are into driving and are happy parking in other people’s front yards,’ and that ‘There has not been any talk about (MetroRail and MetroMover).’

In addition to buying out several private property owners (negotiations are already underway, but the City Manager said it could be done by eminent domain), the stadium will also require removal of Orange Bowl Playground, one of the few green spaces left in the neighborhood. Beckham’s partners say they are considering building an ‘urban park setting’ with restaurants and shops around the stadium.

Beckham will either get the land for free or heavily discounted (according to Regalado, via the Herald‘s Doug Hanks.) Another Herald reporter, Barry Jackson, said that the team would compensate the city for the land. In addition to the value of the land, a property tax exemption could be worth up to $35 million, Field of Schemes says.