Inter Miami CF took another big step towards their 2020 MLS expansion debut on Tuesday night, as Fort Lauderdale city commissioners unanimously approved the agreement finalizing the club’s development of the former Lockhart Stadium site as their training facility and temporary stadium.
Passing by a 5-0 vote, the arrangement allows Inter to begin construction of the 18,000-capacity, multi-purpose stadium which will serve as their home for matches until their permanent ground at Miami Freedom Park is finalized and built, estimated to be a two-year stay. Beyond that point, Inter plans to use the Fort Lauderdale stadium as the home of a future USL affiliate team.
“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 managing owner Jorge Mas in a statement.
“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.”
Under the terms of the 50-year agreement, Inter Miami will fund the Lockhart renovation project, at a cost estimated at $60 million, and will operate and maintain the site while the city retains ownership of the property.
The complex includes fields and other facilities for the Inter first team and academy as well as public park space including running and walking trails, green space, a playground, a dog park, an artificial-turf field and other fields and facilities. The city will have access to the stadium and the turf field for high school games, community events and concerts.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime project for South Florida and our community,” said Fort Lauderdale District 1 Commissioner Heather Moraitis. “Hosting Inter Miami CF games, bringing back high school football games and building a new community park will transform how neighbors come together for entertainment and recreation. In addition to the park amenities Inter Miami CF will build, I will recommend the City Commission approve using park bond money to build additional features, including a community center, pool and splash pad everyone can enjoy.”