Port Authority Pitched FC Cincinnati Stadium Ownership

FC Cincinnati Stadium rendering

FC Cincinnati is pitching the Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati with the idea of owning its new stadium, if the venue is constructed in the city. 

As part of its MLS expansion bid, FC Cincinnati has proposed a new $200 million stadium. The club has stated that it would make a $250 million investment if the proposed facility and expansion bid go through–including $150 million for the expansion fee, plus $100 million for the stadium.

The club is seeking a private-public partnership for the stadium, which has been pitched for three sites. Two of those locations are within Cincinnati, while the other is across the river in Newport, KY. Thus far, there has been some skepticism among Hamilton County officials about helping to finance the stadium, but FC Cincinnati president and general manager Jeff Berding is floating the possibility that the Port Authority could end up owning the venue.

At this point, the discussions between FC Cincinnati and the Port Authority are preliminary, but officials sound as though they are open to the project. More from WPCO:

Still, with resistance from county leaders to shoulder responsibility and costs for a third stadium, Berding said the Port Authority would be a natural fit if the stadium were built either Cincinnati’s West End or Oakley neighborhoods.

Newport’s riverfront site, the third location under consideration, would be structured differently because the entire riverfront site is owned by the developer Corporex, which has a memorandum of understanding with the soccer club. Kentucky’s generous Tax Increment Financing incentives would allow FC Cincinnati to recover the entire $100 million it’s seeking in public financing without any additional taxes or tax breaks, he said.

Port Vice President Gail Paul emphasized that discussions with the Port are preliminary, but she’s pleased that the Port is in the conversation.

“The county and the city created the Port Authority to be a creative, flexible tool for development,” Paul said. “I think there are certain advantages for partnering with the Port on complex, capital-intensive projects.”

FC Cincinnati is one of 12 expansion contenders in the mix, as the organization submitted its bid in January. The club currently plays its USL matches at Nippert Stadium.

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