Inter Miami submits Freedom Park plans

Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion franchise Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (Inter Miami) has taken another step in its efforts to develop a permanent new stadium by submitting a draft lease agreement for the Miami Freedom Park project.

The draft agreement entered to the City of Miami includes the 25,000-seat stadium, along with what will be one of the city’s largest public parks and a tech hub, among other components. Miami Freedom Park, LLC has also launched a new website in conjunction with the submission of the agreement, where all residents of Miami can view the full draft lease agreement, community benefits agreement and other documents.

The terms of the draft lease agreement mirror commitments made by Miami Freedom Park to the community and are based on a 99-year lease with annual rent payments of no less than $3.5m (£2.75m/€3.1m), a figure the club states is based on a third-party fair-market-value appraisal.

The agreement also commits to the creation of a 58-acre public park and 11 soccer fields and payment of the full cost of remediation of the property to permit for public use of the park. The construction of Inter Miami’s home stadium, entertainment and retail space, office tech hub and hotel will come at no cost to City taxpayers, while a commitment has been made for complete creation of the public park at the same time or prior to completing construction of the stadium.

Inter Miami said the submission of the lease is a significant milestone that advances the mandate of City of Miami voters, who approved a November 2018 referendum item by a 60% margin allowing the City to lease its land for the project.

“We look forward to working with the City of Miami to finalise the voter-approved, fair-market-value lease agreement that provides residents with an expansive public park, 11,000 construction jobs, 2,300 permanent jobs and more than $40m in tax revenue, while using zero City taxpayer dollars,” said Jorge Mas, managing owner of Inter Miami CF. “We invite residents to visit our website to learn more and share their input.”

In conjunction with the lease agreement, Miami Freedom Park has also delivered to the City of Miami a Community Benefits Agreement, honouring its vow to gift $5m for the City’s Riverwalk/Baywalk project, $20m for park maintenance and free access to the soccer fields at Miami Freedom Park for City of Miami youth.

The owners of Inter Miami and Miami Freedom Park have also honoured their commitment to finalise an agreement with the First Tee program, news of which came last month, ensuring the organisation will continue to serve children at a new location and be able to grow its impact.

Inter Miami, whose ownership group is led by Mas and David Beckham, 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 club hopes to move into its new stadium by 2021, but has proposed to play at Lockhart Stadium for the 2020 and 2021 MLS seasons, until the Freedom Park stadium opens.

Image: Inter Miami CF