David Beckham can’t seem to do more to signal that he no longer wants anything to do with building his MLS stadium in Overtown. Ever since he reached a deal on the land purchase nearly a year ago, the site has been plagued with one headache after another. From lawsuits, to local opposition to Beckham’s own partners not wanting to build there, one has to wonder why they are even bothering with the site. Well, based on some language in the Memorandum of Understanding, they may not have much longer to deal with it.
The deal was signed in June, 2016 and was contingent upon a few things. First, Beckham’s group had to make a deposit of $450,000 within 60 days of signing the agreement.
Interestingly, that deposit wasn’t made until just shortly before the deadline, on September 8 2017.
The $450,000 payment on Friday represents a small portion of the $9 million purchase price that Miami-Dade granted Beckham in June. The deadline was Sept. 10, the day of Irma’s expected landfall in South Florida. A spokesman for Beckham and Miami-Dade both confirmed the payment. Beckham’s group said a statement would come after the storm passes.
That just got them in the door. The closing for the remainder was supposed to close then shortly thereafter.
That deadline gets us until about June 8, 2018, give or take a couple of days. Amusingly, that lines up almost exactly with the date that the appeal over the Overtown lawsuit, which is set for June 5. There is just about no chance that they’ll have a ruling before June 8.
However, Beckham’s group does have the ability to extend this agreement by paying an additional deposit by the nine month deadline mentioned above.
So if Beckham’s group wants to hold the site, they can pay close to $1 million to continue towards closing. Of course, that only gets them to the end of the year. If they haven’t closed on the full property, they lose the money paid and potentially the site.
Questions we don’t know:
1) Has Beckham paid the $900,000 to extend the closing? Seems unlikely, as they waited until the last-minute to pay the initial deposit. Additionally, are they going to spend $900,000 on a site where they aren’t going to build a stadium?
2) Is the site worth it to Beckham’s group, even if they aren’t going build a stadium there? Possibly? It could be used for retail/housing/etc.
3) If there is no stadium, does that change the lawsuit, which was premised on Florida statutes which authorized a no-bid deal because of the nature of the deal? Maybe. A no-bid deal for a stadium (which is unique in the context of land deals) is different from for a deal for a housing development or a mall.
3) Will this lawsuit be over before the 17 month deadline? Not sure. Even if Matheson loses here, he could appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. An answer on the appeal will take at least a month or so (maybe much longer), and by the time all of the procedures are exhausted there, we could be into September before he even appeals to the Supremes. By the time this case is decided there, we could be at the point where Beckham has to decide if he wants to close on a property he may not be able to use for its intended purpose.
Given that Beckham isn’t particularly close to securing a land deal elsewhere, he may end up turning back to Overtown with his tail between his legs. And at that point, it may be too late.