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By Chris Marr
A pro soccer complex that David Beckham and partners are proposing in Miami would require all workers at the site to receive a “living wage,” the retired soccer star’s development group told the city commission.
The proposed $1 billion project would convert a city-owned golf course and adjacent property into a Major League Soccer stadium, public park, and mixed-use development with restaurants, retail, office buildings, and a hotel.
Developers would require that all business tenants pay their workers at least $11 an hour initially, with the minimum rate stepping up to $15 per hour over four years, Miami businessman Jorge Mas, Beckham’s lead partner in the proposal, said.
Commissioner Ken Russell said he thought this was the first time the City of Miami had required a developer to make a “living wage” commitment as part of a deal to lease public property. He described the wage commitment as one of several deciding factors that helped swing his vote in favor of moving the project forward.
The commission voted 3-2 to advance the proposal at its July 18 meeting. The vote sends a ballot question to local voters in November, asking them to authorize the city to directly negotiate the deal with Beckham’s group without having to follow a competitive bid process.
The project also is negotiating potential commitments for construction labor at the site and talking with a local union related to workers at the proposed hotel, a lawyer for the group told the city commission. Mas and the lawyer reiterated the group’s commitments from a tentative term sheet that the city and the developers have negotiated.
The developers have estimated they’ll provide 11,000 jobs during the construction and 2,300 permanent jobs at the site.
The proposal is Beckham’s latest attempt to bring an MLS team to Miami, an effort that he’s been pursuing since at least 2014, when the city commission approved a resolution to work with him on bringing a team.
Beckham’s group is committing to pay the full cost of the stadium and related development, while also paying $3.6 million per year to the city plus revenue sharing payments to lease the city-owned property.
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