Sacramento Republic FC took another step toward MLS with the announcement that HNTB would design a new downtown stadium should the team be awarded an expansion franchise down the line.
This isn’t to say that a new $125-million stadium will happen anytime soon. But it is a brilliant marketing move by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings LLC (SSEH) Managing Partner Kevin Nagle and Sacramento Republic FC President Warren Smith to put together the infrastructure should Sacramento be awarded an expansion franchise. “Operation Turnkey” allowed plans to proceed on a new, privately financed stadium are on track — but no actual construction will happen until an MLS expansion team is sold to SSEH. Given that new stadiums in Minnesota and Miami are still up in this air (though we expect both to eventually happen and meet the 2018 opening-date goal), Sacramento Republic FC represents a backup alternative for MLS and also becomes the first in line if MLS expands past 24 teams — a decision expected to be made by league leaders by the end of 2015.
The decision to hire HNBT isn’t a surprise: The Kansas City architecture firm also worked on Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and members of the 49ers ownership are also investors in Sacramento Republic FC. Lots of crossover, lots of existing relationships.
“I welcome HNTB to Operation Turnkey,” Nagle said. “Amongst a very talented and competitive field of architects, HNTB stood out for its passion, vision and innovation. That’s the spirit of our fans, our community, and with HNTB’s leadership, our stadium.”
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