The Real Deal Miami

Miami election: Voters approve Beckham’s MLS stadium, convention center hotel

Voters also approved Adler Group’s Miami Riverside project
By Katherine Kallergis | November 06, 2018 10:48PM

Rendering of Miami Freedom Park complex and David Beckham

UPDATED Nov. 7, 2:10 p.m.: Voters in the city of Miami approved two major mixed-use projects in Tuesday’s midterm elections, paving the way for a Major League Soccer Stadium from David Beckham and his partners and a separate riverfront project from the Adler Group. In Miami Beach, voters backed a referendum approving a lease between the city and MB Mixed Use Investment LLC, an entity led by Jackie Soffer and David Martin, for a 99-year lease to build an 800-room convention center hotel.

Floridians also supported a number of constitutional amendments relating to property taxes and gambling. Here’s a breakdown of what passed:

Florida constitutional amendments tied to real estate

Statewide, voters rejected a constitutional amendment increasing the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies.

They approved amendment 2, a limitation on property tax assessments, according to Florida Politics. The amendment would make permanent a 10 percent cap on non-homesteaded real estate, and removed the scheduled repeal of the current provision in 2019. Voters approved a school board referendum for a four-year property tax increase to boost teacher pay and beef up school security. Property taxes will increase by $75 for every $100,000 in assessed taxable value, which comes to about $232 million by June 2019, according to the Miami Herald.

Amendment 3, which would give Florida voters the right to authorize casino gambling for any facility not on tribal land, was approved by voters. Now, developers like Jeffrey Soffer, who is entertaining the possibility of obtaining a casino license for his signature property, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, would have to launch a statewide campaign and obtain more than 60 percent approval at the ballot box. Soffer would also need to go to Florida voters should he decide to expand the Mardi Gras Casino and Race Track, which he purchased in April for $12.5 million, renaming the property the Big Easy Casino.

Beckham’s $1B soccer complex: Approved

Residents voted for a referendum, according to the Miami-Dade Department of Elections, allowing the city to negotiate and execute a 99-year lease with Miami Freedom Park LLC, an entity that includes the soccer star, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, for about 73 acres of the Melreese Country Club site at 1400 Northwest 37th Avenue. The $1 billion project calls for a 25,000-seat soccer stadium, at least 750 hotel rooms, and a minimum of 1 million square feet of office, retail and commercial space.

The referendum waives competitive bidding for the property. As part of the agreement, the Beckham group would pay an annual rent of at least $3.6 million — or fair market value as determined by two independent appraisals — plus $20 million to fund construction of a 58-acre public park, paid in annual installments of $666,667 for 30 years.

Now that voters have approved the referendum for the Melreese property, Beckham’s group will have to decide what to do with the land it owns in Overtown. Before the Mas brothers joined late last year, Beckham planned to build the stadium in Overtown on an assemblage of 6 acres the group owned and 3 acres it was under contract to buy from the county.

Miami Riverside Center

Miami Riverside Center: Approved

Miami residents OK’d a referendum for a 99-year lease to build a four-tower, mixed-use project with public amenities on the city-owned site of the Miami Riverside Center at 444 Southwest Second Avenue and the lot next door at 230 Southwest Third Street.

The residential, office and hotel development, designed by Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, would feature about 37,000 square feet of retail space and a 1,000-space parking garage. Annual rent would be 3 percent of the entire project’s gross revenues, or $3.62 million a year with annual 1.5 percent increases. The developer would also build a public riverwalk and a city administrative building totaling 230,000 square feet.

Adler plans to start building the city’s administrative building and workforce housing “immediately after approval,” a spokesperson said in August. The residential component of the riverfront project is expected to begin after the city moves into its new building. Adler is considering using the Nexus property next door as the site for the city’s new building and rental housing project.

Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel

Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel: Approved

Jackie Soffer

In Miami Beach, voters green-lit a referendum for a convention center hotel, which required a 60 percent approval. They also supported an ordinance dedicating equal rent payments from the hotel to be used for stormwater projects, traffic reduction measures, and education, according to the Department of Elections.

MB Mixed Use Investment LLC, a group led by Martin of Terra and Soffer of Turnberry Associates, proposed an 800-room, 185-foot-tall hotel next to the newly renovated convention center. The referendum marked the third time in five years that residents voted on a similar project in the hopes of attracting major conferences and conventions. Previous ballot measures failed to secure the 60 percent approval.

David Martin

The development team, which includes Craig Robins’ Dacra, Arquitectonica, Meyer Davis Studio and Coastal Tishman, said it hopes to break ground on the hotel next year. The developer could spend up to $362 million on the project, using loans to finance 65 percent of the cost. The hotel would connect to the newly renovated convention center via a skybridge.

The deal calls for $16.6 million in rent to the city or a percentage of the revenues, whichever is greater.

Correction: A previous version of this story misrepresented voter results on Amendment 1.