Metro Council Approves Louisville City FC Stadium Bonds

Louisville City FC stadium rendering

At a meeting on Thursday, the Louisville Metro Council passed several measures relating to a new Louisville City FC stadium project.

Perhaps the biggest component of Thursday’s meeting was a decision on bonding for the project. In a 23-2 vote, the Metro Council approved an agreement that included a $30 million bond as a funding contribution. Of that $30 million bond–which is slated to mature to $42 Million–$25 million will be used for land acquisition, with the additional $5 million used as a contribution to brownfield remediation and public infrastructure. Overall, the council passed all four measures relating to the stadium project, including the bonding and another to apply for a tax increment financing (TIF) district, which will ultimately have to be approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA).

The vote did not come without some issues. Leading up to Thursday’s decision, a labor group contended that the proposal fell short on wage and job standards, and Louisville City FC owners ultimately guaranteed $130 million to the project.  Once the plan was settled, some officials were satisfied with the terms. More from The Courier-Journal:

“I don’t think this is a giveaway,” said Councilman Kevin Kramer (R-11th). “It’s a small investment that’s well worth the money for Louisville.”

Louisville City FC must be playing in a soccer-specific stadium by March of 2020 in order to remain a member of the United Soccer League. If construction on the stadium does not begin by January 1, 2019, the development agreement says, the club has 60 days to either buy back the land from the city or let the city keep the property for its own purposes.

The measures passed among pushback from a labor group on fair wages and despite encountering concern from council members and others that the deal was being rushed – concern that delayed the vote two weeks to Thursday.

One amendment to the deal was introduced Sunday, and a second guaranteeing the $130 million in private capital was added just hours before Thursday’s meeting.

Now that this part of the process is complete, the city will have to submit an application to KEDFA to have the TIF considered. In addition, the city will have to exercise its options on land for the project before November 10, while Louisville City FC  owners will work with an architecture firm to complete the site plan and undertake the task of recruiting tenants for surrounding development.

The stadium is slated to be constructed in Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood. As part of the agreement, the club is expected to pay $14.5 million back to the city from sales of land, rent from leases of land, and stadium rent. The overall project, which is expected to include retail, a hotel and offices, will be built by private investment and potentially backed by TIF financing.

RELATED STORIES: Legal Opinion: Private Funding in Louisville City FC Stadium Project Not EnforceableMeetings on Louisville City FC Stadium Slated for ThursdayLouisville City FC Stadium Vote DelayedLouisville City FC Stadium Plan Takes a Step ForwardNew Louisville City  Stadium Project Unveiled

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