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Overtown neighbors not sold on Beckham stadium deal ahead of commission vote

$4M balance would be paid $1M annually at a 5% interest rate
By Francisco Alvarado | June 02, 2017 03:30PM

New rendering of the soccer stadium. Inset: David Beckham

While David Beckham has agreed to pay $9 million to Miami-Dade County for the 3 missing acres in Overtown needed to build his soccer stadium, the international futbol star’s team will only have to put down $5 million at closing.

The balance would be paid over four years at $1 million annually at a 5 percent interest rate, under a proposed sale agreement hammered out by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

On Thursday evening, Gimenez and Miami Beckham United attorney Neisen Kasdin explained what’s in the deal while addressing concerns about traffic congestion and lack of parking for the stadium to Overtown and Spring Gardens residents attending a town hall at the YWCA, at 351 Northwest Fifth Street.

“Why not all the money when they close?” said Spring Gardens homeowner Charlie Hand. “It seems like a good deal for soccer, but is it a good deal for taxpayers?”

Kasdin insisted Miami-Dade got the best deal possible. “Five percent is more than what banks charge,” he said. Kasdin also noted Miami-Dade would also keep a $450,000 initial deposit and another $900,000 should Beckham seek an extension to close the deal if the stadium project ultimately doesn’t move forward. The Miami-Dade County Commission is scheduled to vote on the agreement on June 6.

In addition to selling the 3 acres to Beckham for fair market value, the county is also requiring that his group create 50 permanent jobs, half of which must have average salaries of at least $27,000 annually, and comply with various Miami-Dade programs to provide subcontracting jobs to small minority-owned firms as well as responsible wages for construction workers, Gimenez said.

The mayor also told town hall attendees that they would have more chances to voice their objections to the stadium when Beckham seeks rezoning approvals from the city of Miami. “If you are in agreement or disagreement with the plan, you will have the opportunity to contest it,” he said.

Residents who spoke were not convinced their concerns were being heard. “How can you guarantee my property value won’t decrease dramatically?” said Daeja O’Donoghue, another Spring Gardens homeowner. “With the noise, traffic and smells, how do you mitigate that? My front door is less than 500 feet from your stadium.”

Kasdin said Beckham is committed to developing a detailed traffic and public transit plan to minimize the impact to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. “No development can guarantee anything, but I believe your property values will be enhanced,” he said.