Negotiations with David Beckham and his partners to build a soccer stadium next to Marlins Park haven't even begun yet, but already a key Miami city commissioner is frustrated with the process.
Commissioner Frank Carollo, whose district includes the city-owned land where Beckham's team is now looking to build a stadium for a Miami MLS franchise, says he's concerned that the project would also require purchasing a private apartment complex and displacing residents. More disconcerting, he says, is that those residents are now learning through the media that they might have to find a new home.
"I think it's unfair," said Carollo. "It's not the right way to start the conversation."
Carollo says he is also frustrated that he wasn't told about Beckham's interest in the site across from Marlins Stadium until after Mayor Tomás Regalado held a video conference Friday with Beckham partner, Marcelo Claure, and then called a news conference.
Carollo isn't against a Beckham stadium. A year ago, he proposed the vote in which the Miami Commission endorsed Beckham's efforts to build a stadium in Miami. But his frustrations -- while not terribly surprising -- inject tensions into a process that hasn't even begun yet.
City officials expect Beckham's team to hand-deliver a letter to City Hall Wednesday, stating their interest in the former Orange Bowl site in writing and kicking off formal negotiations. City Manager Daniel Alfonso stressed that negotiations haven't begun yet, but said his administration is sensitive to the impact the project would have on displaced residents.
"It’s not like we’re going to kick these people out to the curb," he said. "We know they’re renting. We’ll work to try and relocate them."
Miami commissioners are expected to take up the issue Thursday at Miami City Hall. Regalado could not be reached Wednesday morning, but said Tuesday that he and Alfonso didn't know what Claure wanted to speak about when he requested the video conference last week.
Regalado also said Tuesday that Beckham and his investors have been told by MLS that they 90 days to exercise their option to buy a franchise. If the deadline passes, he said, MLS will give the franchise to a team in Minnesota.