David Beckham and Jorge Mas’s Miami MLS ownership group issued a revised set of proposed stadium terms last night in hopes of winning over balky city commissioners, in particular offering to pay any cleanup costs for the toxic waste that sits under the golf course he wants to use as a site. He’s tweaked his offer in other ways, too, though, as the Miami Herald reports:
- The rent the team pays to the city would now be the greater of either what was determined by two independent appraisers or 5 percent of gross rent revenue collected from tenants at the site.
- The team owners would provide an additional $5 million toward funding the city’s Baywalk and Riverwalk.
- Team employees would be guaranteed a minimum wage of $15 an hour if they didn’t get health insurance, or $13.19 an hour if they did.
- The city would get 1% of any sale price for the team or other team interests on the site.
- Any lost parkland would be replaced by the team owners.
- First Tee Miami, a golf youth empowerment program, which is apparently actually a thing, would be guaranteed access to a new driving range at the former golf course site.
The Beckham/Mas plan already looked pretty reasonable for the Miami public, and this sweetens the pot slightly more. And it appears to resolve questions 1 and 3 of the five questions the Miami New Times asked about the deal on Sunday; the biggest remaining one is “How much money is this thing going to make, really?“, but if the owners really are covering all the costs and kicking in for some extra parks and such on top of that, it shouldn’t really matter too much whether the tax benefits to the public aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
According to the Herald, swing vote Ken Russell was still undecided when he left a meeting with Mas after midnight last night, and still holding out to make sure the living-wage provision applied to all employees on the stadium site. Which is his right: This is the only chance the city commissionhas to leverage the no-bid land sale to get concessions from Beckham and Mas, so by all means, haggle over the fine print. And while you can quibble over the details — “Is a golf course or a soccer stadium or something else the best use of land?” is an inherently subjective question depending on what you mean by “best” — we can at least applaud the city of Miami for recognizing that they have Beckham over a barrel, and insisting that he provide something to local residents in exchange for their approval. If every set of local officials would do even just that, we’d have a lot saner world in terms of city development policy — hey, maybe we have something to thank Jeffrey Loria for after all!