USL Championship club files lawsuit against Inter Miami over Lockhart Stadium site – Pro Soccer USA

USL Championship club files lawsuit against Inter Miami over Lockhart Stadium site - Pro Soccer USA
Competing soccer group sues Fort Lauderdale, Beckhams team over Lockhart Stadium deal
A soccer club that lost its bid to redevelop Fort Lauderdales Lockhart Stadium to David Beckhams plan for a soccer training facility is suing to stop the project.

FXE Futbol LLC has sued Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beckham United LLC alleging an agreement between the city and Beckhams soccer group illegally green-lights the demolition of Lockhart Stadium.

FXE Futbol, led by managing director John Reynal, envisioned a sports and entertainment complex on the 65-acre site near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport with a $35 million renovation of Lockhart.

Miami Beckham Uniteds proposal calls for demolition of the stadium and construction of a multi-purpose venue and a youth soccer academy. It also calls for a public park, dog park and up to a 32,000-square-foot building for classrooms, lockers, medical offices and dining facilities.

We can no longer stand on the sidelines while our due process is being violated, Reynal said in a statement. Not only do we believe the ranking was carried out without the proper statutory review, but the subsequent signing of the interim agreement to demolish Lockhart would render our proposal impossible to deliver.

Beckhams Inter Miami Major League Soccer team is set to start playing next year. Its in talks with Miami to build a 25,000-seat stadium and 1 million square feet of unrelated development on the city-owned Melreese golf course east of Miami International Airport. Last November, the group got voter approval to begin negotiations with the city on a long-term lease.

In the meantime, Miami Beckham United submitted an unsolicited proposal Jan. 28 to Fort Lauderdale to demolish Lockhart and build training facilities, the youth academy and a new stadium. The plan is for Inter Miami to initially play there until its Miami stadium is finished.

Under state law, the unsolicited submission meant Fort Lauderdale had to open the door to others to turn in offers to develop the city-owned site at 1350 NW 55th St.

FXE Futbol had been working with the city for more than a year on a proposal to redevelop the public property but suddenly had until March 1 to turn in its proposal, said David Winker, who filed the lawsuit Monday in Broward Circuit Court.

The City Commission ranked Miami Beckham Uniteds proposal ahead of FXEs. The commission on April 2 unanimously approved an interim agreement with Miami Beckham.

Both the city of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beckham United on Tuesday called Winkers lawsuit meritless and maintained they reached their deal in line with applicable law.

The citys process and protocols in the analysis of both projects and the ultimate ranking of Inter Miamis and FXE Futbols unsolicited proposals, as well as the scope of the interim agreement with Inter Miami, fully comport with Florida Statutes and the city charter, City Attorney Alain Boileau said in an emailed statement.

Miami Beckhams attorney, Shubin & Bass founding partner John Shubi, added the group is very confident that, when the facts are properly applied to the applicable law, it will be determined that this lawsuit has no merit.

FXE also argued Miami Beckham and its lobbyist falsely insisted at public meetings that FXEs renovation plan wouldnt work because the stadium has a tremendous amount of asbestos.

The complaint also alleges the city broke state law on public-private partnerships by not doing an independent analysis of the unsolicited proposals.

The lawsuit asks for a writ of mandamus, seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and alleges city charter violations, tortious interference and injurious falsehood.

Winker has filed several lawsuits over the soccer deal, including two pending in Miami-Dade Circuit Court over the Melreese plan. An ethics complaint he filed with the Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission alleging improper lobbyist registration was dismissed in March.

Lidia Dinkova covers South Florida real estate for the Daily Business Review. Contact her at LDinkova@alm.com or 305-347-6665. On Twitter @LidiaDinkova.

A few weeks after David Beckham and his partners won a key approval to advance plans to redevelop Fort Lauderdales Lockhart Stadium into a training facility for Inter Miami, the group that lost a competing bid for the site has sued the city and team over the project.

FXE Futbol, which had submitted a proposal calling for the renovation of Lockhart to host a Division 2 soccer team, filed suit Monday morning in Broward County court alleging the city of Fort Lauderdale violated state laws in the process of evaluating and ranking the two bids. The suit accuses Fort Lauderdales government of skipping required steps in reviewing the Beckham proposal, including getting an outside opinion from an architect or engineer and commissioning an independent analysis of each deals cost-effectiveness.

On April 2, Fort Lauderdale commissioners ranked Beckhams Inter Miami ahead of FXE Futbol and approved an interim agreement with Inter Miami that allows the Beckham group to demolish Lockhart during negotiations of a final contract. Inter Miamis plans include a training facility for the planned Major League Soccer team and an 18,000-seat stadium.

FXE Futbols complaint also accuses Inter Miami representatives of overstating the extent of Lockharts asbestos problem while persuading city commissioners to give approval for demolition before a final agreement is signed. FXE Futbols proposal includes renovating the existing structure.

We can no longer stand on the sidelines while our due process is being violated, reads a statement by John F. Reynal, FXEs managing partner. Not only do we believe the ranking was carried out without the proper statutory review, but the subsequent signing of the interim agreement to demolish Lockhart would render our proposal impossible to deliver.


Posted in Fort Lauderdale