MIA has concerns over Inter Miami soccer stadium plans


Architectural digital rendering of Miami Freedom Park, the proposed for the Inter Miami CF soccer team.


Concerns over airline and Miami International Airport safety are the latest hurdle for ’s proposed soccer stadium and retail complex, as objections threaten to delay a key city vote to allow construction. on a public golf course next to the airport.

In recent weeks, Miami-Dade Zoning and Aviation officials have told city managers that the Miami Freedom Park project still needs a green light from the county Aviation Department, which manages the MIA and reviews planned construction in the special security zones created to limit growth around the airport.

The $1 billion project includes a 25,000-seat stadium, a hotel, shops, an office building, ball fields and a park that would replace the 131-acre Melreese golf course. The stadium would host the games of the Major League Soccer franchise, Inter Miami, which is co-owned by Beckham and local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas.

Although the proposed stadium is outside of the county’s “outer security zone,” the restaurants and other planned businesses are not. County regulations allow the construction of new buildings in the area, but prohibit operations that may attract large numbers of people to the area, such as theaters and nightclubs.

In a July 12 email to city planners, county aviation administrator Jose Ramos wrote that “within the [Zona de Seguridad Exterior]new residential construction, educational facilities, hospitals, religious facilities, and other public assembly buildings shall be prohibited.”

“In no case will these prohibitions be modified,” he wrote.

Airlines operating at the MIA also raised concerns about the stadium plan. Among them are construction cranes that will go too high for some flight paths during a construction phase expected to last several years, and ongoing problems with stadium lights reflecting off ceilings and other surfaces and distracting. to the pilots.

“Construction of the stadium will likely require the use of cranes whose height exceeds that of the end lights,” Sandra Cisneros, airport-airline liaison, wrote in an April 8 memo. The lights at the end referred to the height of the lights at the top of the stadium.

Records show the city has moved the government review process for Miami Freedom Park at a faster pace than the airport would have liked.

Ramos wrote in an email earlier this year that, ideally, it would take most of 2022 to resolve outstanding issues and move the project through several public hearings. The project’s zoning plan went through two committees in June and July, with the City Commission giving its initial approval on July 28. A final vote is expected on September 8.

Miami administrators and attorneys for the Beckham group say there is still time to resolve the issues, as county approvals would still be required after the Miami Commission’s vote. Those approvals include construction permits and airport authorization for individual construction projects.

But county officials would have to agree to Miami’s timetable and interpretation of county law. If the city approved the zoning plan without the blessing of the county aviation department, it could put the city and county at odds and open the door to a legal challenge.

Problems with the county have surfaced weeks before the City Commission considers approving the team’s request for a “special area plan” that would provide broad standards and plans for how the complex would be built. In an email to the city, a Miami-Dade administrator said the plan “should not be approved” without written authorization from the county.

City and county officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss Miami Freedom Park. Inter Miami’s land use attorney is expected to attend.

On Tuesday, a Miami spokesman said City Hall officials hope to resolve the impasse within the next two weeks.

“The city will be meeting with the County Aviation Department this week and we look forward to addressing any comments or concerns they may have,” said Stephanie Severino, the city’s Director of Communications. “Hopefully, we will have this review completed in time for the vote on September 8.”

This story was originally published on August 25, 2022 11:13 a.m.