Inter Miami returns to Overtown with a bird in the hand

More than five years into his search for a home for his South Florida MLS team, David Beckham and his partners at Inter Miami have gone from finding no place to play to being in different stages of closing deals at three different sites.

Inter Miami's No. 1 target remains Melreese Country Club, a Miami public golf course, where plans for a development have stalled during the approval process following a 2018 referendum it won to allow city commissioners to negotiate a deal.

It has begun work on getting the site at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium ready to serve as its home for its MLS launch in 2020 and as a training complex for its first and second teams and youth academy.

But in the latest twist, the Miami Herald reported that partner Jorge Mas, who has been leading the local effort, wants to close on property in the Overtown neighborhood, paying $9 million for three acres and begin seeking permits on work to build the stadium.

When Mas and his brother, Jorge, got involved, in late 2017, the first thing they decided was that the Overtown was too small for their development efforts and won't be easy for fans to get to.

“He has this bird in the hand,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Herald after meeting with Mas on Monday. “He’s going to close on the property. And he’s going to start [requesting] permits to build a stadium.”

Gimenez suggested the interest in closing on the Overtown site and seeking permits was because it allows the Beckham group to comply with an MLS deadline to get a Miami site nailed down.

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