MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Soccer star David Beckham picked the Orange Bowl site as the next spot for a possible Major League Soccer stadium in South Florida.
Beckham business partner Marcelo Claure had a video conference with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado on Friday morning. During the discussion they spoke about Beckham's pick located next to Marlins Park.
"In the phone conversation with Mr. Claure, who is one of the partners of Beckham United, he assured the manager and I that Beckham United and he had a conversation with Beckham yesterday, a long conversation, have decided that they want to move forward with a team in the City of Miami and that they're only choice is the Orange Bowl site in the City of Miami," Regalado said Friday outside of City Hall in Coconut Grove.
Claure later tweeted out, "Great meeting with @Tomas_Regalado we have presented him our intentions to bring Futbol and a New soccer stadium in the former Orange Bowl."
The city manager will begin to work on getting documents, however, city commissioners will have to decide to authorize the manager to move forward and several steps will need to be taken--such as legal planning and a traffic study.
The majority of the land around Marlins Park is controlled by the City of Miami.
Beckham United will be funding the stadium themselves and hope to be playing in the stadium by 2018.
Miami Beckham United issued a statement on the decision saying, "Today's meeting with Mayor Regalado was another positive step toward bringing a world class soccer club to Miami. We're still in the early planning stages and several viable options still exist, but our preferred stadium location is the former Orange Bowl site. David, Marcelo and Simon are thrilled by the initial outpouring of support we've received from our fans and we're excited about sharing our plans with the City, County and community soon."
For the stadium to be in that location, small apartment buildings near the Orange Bowl, would have to go.
"It's not good," said resident Ed Serrano. "It would be hard an expensive to find another place to live."
Beckhams group would pay the city of Miami to lease the land and pick up the tab to buy the small private parcels.
"They are not seeking public funds to build the stadium," said Regalado.
Soccer fans were singing praises once the news was announced.
"Exceptional news!We are all very excited. It's something that we have all been praying for, working for," said Mitchell Torres with Southern Legion Soccer.
It's been 18 months since Beckham began his push to bring soccer back to Miami.
The move comes after two failed bids by Beckham for a downtown stadium located on the waterfront.
It's been several months since the last time there was any kind of significant meeting between Beckham's group and elected officials.
Back then, Beckham's investment group met with MLS Commissioner Don Garber and University of Miami President Donna Shalala for several hours discussing the possibility of a shared stadium between the college and the new soccer team.
Later that day Beckham's group met with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, but since then there had been almost no mention of the efforts to bring an MLS team to Miami.
It is unclear whether the new plans will include the university.
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