By Mike Cugno

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – David Beckham has been a busy man on his most recent Miami visit.

Beckham, along with MLS co-owner Jorge Mas, made a trip to the 6-acre plot of land in Overtown where the team’s proposed stadium would sit.

Beckham would not flat out say this is the definite site of the 25,000-seat building, but stressed fan experience was a top priority.

Beckham told the Miami Herald, “From the moment they step on to the grounds of where the stadium is going to be, to the moment they step into the stadium, to the moment they leave it has to be a whole experience. If we can achieve that, then it changes a lot of things for the neighborhood. Like Jorge [Mas] says, we don’t want to be disruptive to any of the neighborhoods. We want to be a good neighbor. We don’t want any dramas.”

That may be easier said than done with affordable housing communities like Culmer Place sitting adjacent to the site.

Mas was asked if his organization had an interest in redeveloping surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’d like to be a part of a vision and it needs to fit for everyone because when I look at this what I’m trying to foresee is what this could be in 4 or 5 or 6 years,” said Mas. “It obviously has a housing component. We don’t want disruption of the neighbors. We don’t want gentrification. We want them to feel a part of what is potential going to be here besides a stadium.”

Mas has had multiple meetings with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to talk about the housing in the area and the two will meet again Monday.

Part of Beckham’s trip around Miami included stops at Lourdes Academy and Palmer Trinity to congratulate them on state championships in soccer.

It’s an encouraging sign for the ownership group which hopes to establish a soccer academy in South Florida as part of its plan for the MLS franchise.

“Our academy is something that is so important to us,” Beckham added. “it’s something that I’ve said is one of the things we need to get going sooner rather than later because I feel we really have an opportunity to give young kids, not just in Miami or America but globally, a chance to actually be a part of this team.”

 

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