Inter Miami CF will officially have a home in Fort Lauderdale after city commissioners approved the transformation of Lockhart Park into a professional soccer complex.
“We are thankful for the tremendous collaboration from the City of Fort Lauderdale in helping us finalize this agreement and proceed with the next phase of construction following demolition that concluded in late June,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas.
Inter Miami estimates the revitalization of Lockhart Park will cost around $60 million. The upgrades include the new-look Lockhart Stadium that will seat 18,000 in addition to “training facilities, team offices, a youth soccer academy, multi-purpose community athletic fields and a major public park.”
Even though Inter Miami plans to move to a permanent venue at Miami Freedom Park after two years, the organization will operate and maintain the Fort Lauderdale site throughout the 50-year agreement.
“The agreement with Inter Miami CF is the beginning of an exciting future for Fort Lauderdale that brings more recreation and sports opportunities to residents with the soccer group shouldering the cost. Fort Lauderdale acted quickly and decisively to secure this arrangement that moves our city to the next level as a quality place to live,” said City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “Together we greatly expand soccer opportunities for our youth and obtain a signature public park while also gaining an important role in the future of professional soccer in America. I would like to thank Jorge Mas and David Beckham for bringing this possibility to our city, and I look forward to a long future with them.”
For Mas, this is one checkmark on a very long to-do list before the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2020.
“We are working diligently to finalize many elements of the club to bring our fans closer to their first match, including bringing on corporate partners, signing players and unveiling a seating plan for the thousands of supporters across South Florida who have already secured their season ticket deposits in the coming months,” Mas said.
Back in May, the team opened up season-ticket deposits so fans could reserve priority seating. The prices are as follows: $50 per seat, $150 per club seat and $4,000 for suites. Single-game tickets will go on sale in January of 2020.
As for signing players, Beckham has been going hard after superstars.
In early June, news out of Spain was that Barcelona striker Luis Suarez had been offered a 4-year contract by Beckham.
A few days later, Beckham admitted to Futbol Red that he was actively seeking to sign a Colombian superstar. MLSsoccer.com noted that good matches included: Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, David Ospina, Juan Fernando Quintero and Carlos Cuesta.
Mid-June reports from Argentina connected 19-year-old Banfield forward Julian Carranza and 19-year-old Estudiantes midfielder Matias Pellegrini to the Miami club.
Later in the month, Paul Tenorio of The Athletic reported Inter Miami was pursuing Tyler Boyd. The club has discovery rights on the on the 24-year-old winger, who scored two goals for the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
The expectation has always been that Beckham and Mas would announce signings in the summer, so fans should be on the lookout for official deals that could happen at any moment.
Kevin Castaneda is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer at CBS Miami. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.