The developers of Miami Freedom Park, a proposed $1 billion mixed-use project anchored by a soccer complex, submitted a Special Area Plan for the Melreese site.
Miami Freedom Park, a group that’s led by managing owner Jorge Mas and includes soccer superstar David Beckham, submitted the SAP along with the city of Miami, which owns the Melreese Country Club property. SAPs have come under intense scrutiny, and the city’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board made the recommendation earlier this year that no other SAPs be approved.
Still, the rezoning application marks progress for Miami Freedom Park, which would be home to Inter Miami CF. The Major League Soccer team is owned by SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure; Mas and his brother Jose; Beckham; and Masa Son, CEO of SoftBank.
SAPs allow developers to secure approvals for massive swaths of land in the city of Miami. Approved and built projects include the Miami Design District and Brickell City Centre.
Miami Freedom Park’s SAP proposal, as first reported by the Miami Herald, calls for a $3.5 million annual lease payment to the city and $42.7 million in annual tax revenue, according to documents filed with the city. The developers would cover the cost of environmental remediation to 131 acres of the Melreese golf course site, which was found to have high levels of toxic contaminants such as arsenic.
The developers would build a 58-acre public park, with a one-mile wellness loop, soccer and football fields that would be accessible to the community, a retail and entertainment component, a tech hub and hospitality space, and the 25,000-seat soccer stadium.
The SAP process is separate from lease negotiations, but will occur at the same time, according to a spokesperson for Miami Freedom Park. The Miami City Commission could consider both at the same time. About a year ago, Miami Freedom Park submitted a draft lease agreement to the city that outlined the terms of the deal that Miami voters approved in November 2018. The commission had pressed for a contract last year, but that has not yet come to fruition.