Inter Miami CF have received clearance from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission to demolish Lockhart Stadium and Fort Lauderdale Stadium, the adjacent baseball venue, as part of the club’s plans to build a stadium and training complex on the site.
The commission approved an interim agreement with Inter by a unanimous 5-0 vote on Tuesday night, authorizing the club to “test soil, assess environmental damage, tear down the stadiums, salvage Lockhart bleachers if possible, and begin planning and designing the proposed new soccer complex,” reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Under the terms of the deal, the 2020 MLS expansion entrants must begin the process of clearing the land within the next 180 days, ahead of the construction of a new, 18,000-capacity stadium which will serve as Inter’s home for their first two seasons in MLS while their permanent venue is completed at Miami Freedom Park, near the Miami International Airport.
After Inter move into the latter facility, the Lockhart ground will become the home base for their future USL affiliate squad. The Lockhart project also includes several training fields and other facilities to house Inter’s first team and reserve and academy sides, as well as public park space.
It’s the latest chapter in Lockhart’s long soccer history. Built for high-school sports in the 1950s, the venue played host to the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers, defunct MLS side Miami Fusion FC and other teams over the decades, but has been left abandoned and neglected in recent years.