The project to build a new home for David Beckham’s Major League Soccer (MLS) team in South Florida has encountered an obstacle after a lawsuit was filed against the proposed redevelopment of the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale.
The suit was filed by FXE Futbol, which is attempting to obtain a temporary injunction in Broward County Court to prevent the demolition of the existing Lockhart Stadium, paving the way for a new 18,000-seat facility.
Beckham, his investment partners and Inter Miami CF secured approval from the city authority on April 2 to demolish the existing venue and replace it with a new stadium that would host the team for the first two years of its MLS existence.
However, FXE Futbol, which had proposed a competing bid to renovate the existing stadium, claims that the city failed to comply with Florida state law by failing to appoint “an architect, landscape architect, or an engineer licensed in this state” to review the plans. According to state law, “independent analysis” to prove the cost-effectiveness of the public-private partnership is also required.
FXE Futbol also claims that Inter Miami incorrectly told the city that redeveloping the stadium was not viable due to a “tremendous amount” of asbestos on the site.
“We can no longer stand on the sidelines while our due process is being violated,” FXE’s managing partner, John Reynal, said. “Not only do we believe the ranking was carried out without the proper statutory review, but the subsequent signing of the interim agreement to demolish Lockhart would render our proposal impossible to deliver.
“While we are not asking for preferential treatment, we do demand that we and all future bidders in front of the City of Ft. Lauderdale receive a fair, open review in accordance with the mandated legal process.”
Attorney John Shubin, speaking on behalf of the team, said: “We have reviewed the complaint and are very confident that, when the facts are properly applied to the applicable law, it will be determined that this lawsuit has no merit. We look forward to working with the city of Fort Lauderdale to bring Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami team, its training facility and youth academy to the community in 2020.”
Image: Inter Miami