Approximately 40 golf carts caught fire at Miami’s Melreese Country Club—a potential stadium site for David Beckham’s MLS Miami club—per the Miami Herald.
A 911 call came in around 10:30 p.m., the Herald says, reporting a “large body of fire” at the golf course. There were no injuries and firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading outside of the parking lot.
While it’s not immediately clear who is responsible for the fire, the future of Melreese Country Club has been the focus of intense debate in recent weeks. David Beckham and his business partner Jorge Mas identified the Country Club as the preferable location for a soccer specific stadium.
Beckham and Mas had to appear multiple times in front of the Miami County Commission just to give Miami voters the opportunity to vote on the potential stadium project this November. The MLS Miami group faced intense opposition from Melreese Country Club supporters, specifically those who participate in the First Tee youth golf program.
Melreese Country Club is Miami’s only municipal golf course, but it’s been reported to have been operating at a loss in recent years. Per WLRN Miami, City records show the golf course has operated at a loss eight of the last ten years.
Beckham and Mas say their proposed 131-acre stadium and retail complex would revitalize the surrounding area.
The only other viable stadium option at this point for MLS Miami is in a nine-acre site in the Overtown neighborhood, which Beckham’s group secured the rights for in June 2017. The Overtown site faces its own set of challenges, though, including parking difficulties and safety concerns.
Jorge Mas has said MLS Miami needs to begin construction on a stadium soon or risk losing the club altogether.
“We have to get a stadium decision on the ballot as quickly as possible because per the expansion agreement with Major League Soccer,” said Mas. “I have to start construction by October 2019. If construction doesn’t start in October 2019, I’m technically in default of the expansion agreement. That puts the team at risk from coming to Miami.”
Miami residents will have the opportunity in November to vote on whether or not to allow Beckham and Mas to develop the Melreese site into their stadium complex.