Beckham Football Stadium; Swire, Ross Brickell Tower Get OK

From left: Jorge Maas, Kieran Powers of Swire, David Beckham, and Stephen Ross (Getty, Swire Properties, Arquitectonica)

Two major projects in Miami – David Beckham’s football stadium, as well as Swire Properties and Stephen Ross’ One Brickell City Center office tower – are a step closer to fruition.

The City of Miami commission on Thursday gave preliminary approval to classify the Major League Soccer project as a special district plan, as well as items related to the Brickell office project.

The committee also approved in first reading five sites where 26 acres of green space will be created to offset the approximately 23 acres of park land that will be lost due to the development of the football stadium complex.

A second and final vote on the items is expected in September.

Miami Freedom Park

Miami businessmen and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas are leading the partnership that will develop Miami Freedom Park at the closed Melreese Country Club at 1802 Northwest 37th Avenue, east of Miami International Airport. Beckham and Los Angeles-based Ares Management are partners, too.

The plan is to create a stadium with a capacity of 25,000 spectators on the western side of Milleres. 750-key hotel 400,000 square feet of offices on the northwest corner; 600,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space largely within the “Football Village” south of the stadium; and 5100 parking spaces. The garage will include public use sports fields on its roof.

The project, designed by Arquitectonica, is spread over 73 acres on 131 acres of Melreese. In April, the developers of Miami Freedom Park received final approval for a 99-year lease for the site. The remaining 58 acres in Melreese will be converted into a public park under the supervision of the city.

As part of the deal, developers will have to recreate approximately 23 acres of park land that will be lost in Melreese. The plan is to create approximately 26 acres of green space across Miami at the following locations: 2735 Northwest 10th Avenue and 2615 Northwest 8th Avenue; 150 Northeast 19th Street; 1950 Northwest 12th Street; 1641-1680 Northwest 5th Street and 1610 Northwest 6th Street; and 3851 Rickenbacker Causeway, according to the committee’s agenda.

The approvals did not come without some disagreement. Committee Chair Christine King questioned whether the societal benefits she requested, such as a commitment to employ minority-owned businesses on development, were included in Miami Freedom Park’s legal documents.

City Prosecutor Victoria Mendes said employees and developers are still changing the lease, adding that many of the words in the document are now “ambitious.”

“Stop the games. The president wasn’t ambitious. ‘She was direct,'” Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portela replied. “You know what you want. Put it in the language between now and the second reading.”

Iris Iscara, an attorney at Miami Freedom Park, agreed that the items would be included in the documents.

One Brickell City Center

Companies associated with Swire and Ross want to build One Brickell City Center at 700 Brickell Avenue and 799 Brickell Plaza in Miami. At a planned height of 1,000 feet, it will be the tallest commercial building in Florida.

As it is part of the larger mixed-use Brickell City Center development, the commission agreed to amend the entire project development agreement and special area plan to allow construction of the tower. Part of the approval was to also allow for larger floor slabs.

The tower is planned to contain some of the largest floor panels of a Grade A office building in Miami.

Brickell has emerged as a major office hub, attracting much of the influx of financial firms to South Florida over the past year and a half.

Ken Griffin announced in June that his hedge fund Citadel and financial services firm Citadel Securities would move their headquarters along Brickell Bay from Chicago.

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