Inter Miami overcomes Lockhart Stadium legal challenge

In a win for Major League Soccer expansion franchise Inter Miami CF, Florida Circuit Court Judge Raag Singhal has ruled against FXE Futbol in its case to obtain a temporary injunction to prevent the demolition of Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium.

The project to build a new home for David Beckham’s new MLS team encountered an obstacle last month when FXE Futbol filed a lawsuit against the proposed redevelopment of Lockhart Stadium. The proposed demolition of the existing Lockhart Stadium would pave the way for a new 18,000-seat facility.

Inter Miami CF secured approval on April 2 to demolish the existing venue and replace it with a new stadium, which would host the team for its first two years in MLS.

FXE Futbol had proposed a competing bid to renovate the existing stadium and claimed that Fort Lauderdale had failed to comply with Florida state law when failing to appoint “an architect, landscape architect, or an engineer licensed in this state” to review the plans.

FXE Futbol had also claimed that Inter Miami incorrectly told the city that redeveloping the stadium was not viable due to a “tremendous amount” of asbestos on the site. FXE Futbol had proposed a renovation project for Lockhart Stadium instead of demolition.

However, the claim has now been denied, leaving Inter Miami free to begin work on the site. The club hopes to move into the new stadium in time for the 2020 MLS season.

In a statement reported by ESPN, John Shubin, counsel for Beckham’s group, said: “Today’s decision confirms that the process that is bringing world-class soccer to the City of Fort Lauderdale was both lawful and fair. Our client will continue to move forward in good faith with the hard work that needs to be accomplished to convert this process into a reality. We also hope that we have seen the end of this meritless litigation.”

The redeveloped Lockhart Stadium will serve as Inter Miami’s temporary home while it builds a permanent stadium in Miami. The Miami stadium is not expected to be ready until the 2022 MLS season at the earliest.

Image: Inter Miami