The city of Miami has published the agenda for its July 12 commission meeting on David Beckham’s MLS stadium proposal, and it includes some details of the proposed funding plan. And, get this, they don’t appear to be that terrible for taxpayers:
Beckham and his partners, which include local business giants Jorge and Jose Mas, want to turn Melreese golf course into a 73-acre soccer, commercial and hotel complex and a 58-acre park. All would be privately funded under the terms of a 39-year lease, which could be extended to 99 years. The city would receive annual rent of about $4 million to $5 million, and the owners would pay taxes on the rezoned park land, which does not currently contribute to the tax rolls.
To clarify: Beckham and the Mases would pay for building the development, would pay fair market value for the land (as determined by an independent appraiser — that $4 to 5 million figure is just an estimate), and would pay property taxes (or payments in lieu of taxes) on the land. And the team would also pay an additional $20 million (spread out over 30 years) to turn a little under half of the golf course land into a public park, which isn’t really worth $20 million in present value because the payments are spaced out into the future, but if that’s what a public park will really cost, whatever.
Keeping in mind that this is just a commission agenda likely written up by pro-stadium forces, and so could yet have fine print we don’t know about — and also this would be a no-bid deal, so we’d be taking the appraisers’ word for whether the lease price was really fair market value — this looks like a pretty fair deal for Miami residents financially. The only issue will be whether locals want to sell a public golf course for private development at all, even if it means getting a (smaller) public park and a pro soccer team out of the deal. And given Miami’s past experience with sports stadiums (cough Marlins cough), that might not be an easy sell:
If commissioners approve, voters would decide on Nov. 6 whether to change the city’s charter and allow what would be a no-bid deal to lease 73 acres at the Melreese site to the group…
Petitions are circulating to save the course, where Tiger Woods has appeared for clinics in the past. Longtime LPGA star Cristie Kerr, a Miami native, has voiced opposition to the Melreese plan in recent months, as has fellow Miami native pro Erik Compton.
“Please help protect this beautiful green space, this public golf course and this home to amazing youth programs,” Compton wrote on Twitter.
It would be extremely ironic if Beckham finally came up with a stadium plan in which he actually agreed to pay his fair share, and still got turned down by voters because they just straight-out hate 1) stadium deals 2) losing a golf course, 3) soccer, or 4) him. Though come to think of it, given how the Beckham saga has gone so far, it would be the exact opposite of ironic.