Wealthy Miami landowner and activist Bruce Matheson is suing to block development of David Beckham’s professional soccer stadium in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.
Matheson, heir to Key Biscayne’s founding family’s fortune, filed a lawsuit last week against Miami-Dade County over the planned $3 million land sale of three acres to Miami Beckham United, the Miami Herald first reported.
And it’s not the first time Matheson tries to prevent a major sports facility: he previously blocked the expansion of Crandon Park’s tennis facilities, which the Miami Open said was critical to the tournament’s future in Miami.
Now, Matheson is claiming that the Beckham land deal breaks state law because it wasn’t offered to other bidders, and said he would buy the property under the same terms and for the same $9 million price tag, which he claims is too low. Earlier this year, he said the “discounted sales price” is essentially a subsidy to Beckham United, adding that “taxpayers deserve the same price per square foot that the previous owners of the adjoining land sold it for.”
Since the agreement between Beckham and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez was announced in early May, residents from the Spring Garden neighborhood – where Matheson owns land – have expressed criticism and skepticism about a soccer stadium in their backyard, citing the lack of parking, potential for traffic gridlock and questioning the promise of 50 permanent jobs.
Beckham’s group is still missing MLS approval for the Miami franchise, which the group expects to have by early August. It now has until mid-September to make the $500,000 down payment on the county land, according to the Herald. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis