Veteran soccer star David Beckham won an appeal Wednesday challenging a real estate purchase for his planned Major League Soccer stadium. It’s just not the latest plot of land in play for the team’s Miami home.
The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court decision backing Miami-Dade County’s right to sell 2.79 acres in Miami’s Overtown to Beckham without competitive bidding.
Different parties but the same issue in in play in a different lawsuit for the latest preferred site: the city-owned Melreese golf course east of Miami International Airport.
The Overtown litigation covers property at 678, 684 and 690 NW Seventh St. and 566 NW Seventh Ave. north of the Miami River.
Pioneer family heir Bruce Matheson sued in July 2017 over the County Commission’s vote a month earlier to sell the public acreage to Beckham for $9 million.
Matheson, who owns nearby property, argued state law requires competitive bidding on the public property sale. He said was interested in the property himself and was willing to buy it at the same price.
Miami-Dade Judge Rodolfo Ruiz dismissed the case last November, finding Matheson didn’t have the legal standing to challenge the sale.
The appeals court agreed, finding an exception to competitive bidding for an economic development incentive and lack of standing.
“Must the county sell the land through the competitive bid process? No, because the land was sold as an economic development incentive to attract tourism and hospitality industries; attract and retain a soccer business enterprise; create a soccer stadium and new jobs with it,” Judge Robert Luck wrote for the unanimous panel. Judges Barbara Lagoa and Ivan Fernandez agreed.
Beckham and partners now have their sights on the Melreese golf course for a 25,000-seat stadium and other ventures including a hotel, tech office space, retail and public soccer fields. Miami voters will be asked next month to approve a long-term city lease.