Beckham’s soccer site has high levels of arsenic, contaminated soil: report

The city of Miami is currently negotiating a lease with the Mas-Beckham development group

Aug.August 20, 2019 01:30 PM
David Beckham and Miami Freedom Park (Credit: Getty Images)

David Beckham and Miami Freedom Park (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED, Aug. 20, 5 p.m.: David Beckham’s plans to develop a Major League Soccer stadium at Melreese golf course in Miami hit another snag.

An environmental analysis for the planned site for the Inter Miami team reported high arsenic contamination levels and surface-level soil samples containing debris that pose a “physical hazard,” according to the Miami Herald.

The environmental firm EE&G found contamination levels at twice the allowable limit for arsenic. Barium and lead levels also exceeded legal limits, the Herald reported.

Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez announced on Tuesday afternoon that the city would close the Melreese Country Club and Golf Course to allow outside experts to analyze the results of the analysis.

The findings come as the city is negotiating the terms of a 99-year lease with the development group, led by Beckham and Jorge Mas. It is unclear how the analysis will impact the future plans for the site.

The Beckham-Mas ownership group submitted its plans with the Miami City Commission last July, proposing to build a $1 billion commercial development project called Miami Freedom Park, which would require leasing 73 acres out of the 131-acre park.

In total, the Beckham-Mas group would pay an annual rent of at least $3.5 million. The group later agreed to pay up to $35 million in environmental remediation for the site and said it would seek federal funding if the costs exceeded that amount. Voters allowed the development group to move forward with its plans last November.

Because the Miami stadium won’t be ready in time, Miami Beckham United, another Beckham LLC, also signed an agreement with the city of Fort Lauderdale to replace the city-owned Lockhart Stadium with a training facility and an 18,000-seat stadium where the MLS team would play its first two seasons in 2020 and 2021. [Miami Herald— Keith Larsen

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