A vote on a proposed soccer stadium for David Beckham's potential MLS club could go before the Miami city commission as early as December, with a referendum going before Miami voters in March, according to several Miami politicians and officials.
Beckham's group, Miami Beckham United, is currently in negotiations with the city of Miami to acquire a plot of land adjacent to Marlins Park. Beckham's group is also in negotiations with private entities to acquire some additional parcels needed for the stadium.
Beckham acquired the option to buy a team with a discounted expansion fee of $25 million when he signed with the LA Galaxy back in 2007. Current expansion fees are now over $100 million.
"I think we're all optimistic that it's going to happen," said Miami city commissioner Frank Carollo, in whose district the proposed stadium would be built. "Now it's just making sure that it's a good deal all around for the city of Miami, for the Beckham group, and the residents of the city of Miami."
Miami city manager Daniel J. Alfonso confirmed via email that the goal is to put the land portion of the deal before the city commission when it meets in December. He also indicated that eminent domain wouldn't be needed to acquire any additional parcels, a development that is welcomed by Miami city commissioner Francis Suarez.
"Stadium deals are looked at down here with a great amount of suspicion," he said via telephone. "Using the power of government for something like that is not something that would be welcome. I have not heard that word used yet in the context of the stadium, and I'm hoping not to hear it."
If all goes well before the commission, then a referendum will be put on the ballot in March. The exact date will likely be March 15, the same date as the Florida presidential primary, which Carollo noted will help increase turnout.
One significant concern that remains is the amount of power that Miami Marlins have over any proposed stadium. A report from the Miami Herald indicated that the terms of the Marlins' lease give the Major League Baseball club veto power over the dates in which the soccer stadium could be used, as well as the naming rights.
When asked about those issues, Alfonso said, "Those discussions [with the Marlins] are taking place."
Carollo struck a more optimistic tone.
"I can tell you the Marlins have expressed that they would like to have the stadium as a neighbor and that they would try to cooperate to also make it happen," he said. "Right now, there aren't any issues."
A Beckham spokesman declined to comment.