Inter Miami overcomes obstacle in Melreese stadium plan

Major League Soccer expansion franchise Inter Miami CF has claimed another win for its Miami Freedom Park stadium project after a deal was reached for the relocation of The First Tee, a youth golf programme based at Melreese Country Club.

The club is planning on building a new stadium on the Melreese site and hopes to move into the state-of-the-art, 25,000-seat facility by 2021.

Inter Miami will make its MLS debut in 2020 and the club will play at a redeveloped Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale while work on the Miami Freedom Park project is carried out.

The presence of The First Tee at Melreese had been a potential sticking point for the club, which is part-owned by David Beckham, but an agreement has now been reached for the non-profit organisation to move to a new location in South Florida.

A press conference was held yesterday (Tuesday) to confirm the agreement, which Inter Miami said would facilitate the “relocation and advancement” of The First Tee.

Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas has pledged that the club’s ownership group will provide contributions that facilitate the relocation efforts for The First Tee. The programme’s new location has not yet been revealed.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but the Miami Herald newspaper reported that Mas has agreed to pay about $3m (£2.4m/€2.7m) for the relocation.

Inter Miami’s lease deal for the Melreese site still requires approval from the City of Miami and last week it emerged that the club is set to pay $9m for three acres of land in the city’s Overtown neighbourhood as a back-up plan. The club had initially set its sights on Overtown as the destination for its permanent stadium before turning its attention to Melreese.

The club insisted last week that it remains “fully committed” to creating Miami Freedom Park and taking MLS to the City of Miami.

Image: Inter Miami