City Discusses Potential Austin MLS Stadium Sites

Austin MLS Stadium rendering

Earlier this week, the Austin City Council discussed a variety of sites that could be used for the construction of a new Austin MLS stadium.

The city is continuing its pursuit of Columbus Crew SC, as club owner Anthony Precourt revealed in October that he is considering a potential relocation of the team to Austin. As part of the ongoing discussions, the city council previously approved a resolution that directed staff to generate a slate of city-owned sites that could be used for a new privately financed Austin MLS stadium and practice facility.

When it comes to the stadium, a report presented earlier this week identified several parcels. Three pieces of parkland–including Butler Shores Metropolitan Park, Guerrero Metro Park, and the Travis County Exposition Center–were mentioned, along with a mix of nonparkland sites that included 10414 McKalla Place, and a former Home Depot location near the intersection of Interstate 35 and U.S. 290.

The practice facility was also address in the report, with Guerrero Metro Park and the Travis County Exposition Center among the five options that were noted. Discussions surrounding Austin MLS are expected to continue over the next several months, but a lobbyist for the effort expressed satisfaction with the city’s presentation. More from The Austin American-Statesman:

“We’re encouraged. It looks like the city did an exhaustive search of land, and they turned up some interesting possibilities,” Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who’s working for Precourt Sports Ventures, told the American-Statesman. “We were familiar with several of these places, but some of them are new. We look forward to going over the pros and cons of each site with the city. It’s clear this project is moving forward.”

Butler Shores, previously described as “near perfect” by Suttle, is known to be Precourt’s favorite site for a 20,000-seat stadium that could cost $200 million to build.

Yet any use of parkland will generate a heated community debate and possibly an election, despite a poll released Tuesday by the social media group MLS2ATX that shows strong support for a privately financed stadium on underutilized city parkland.

During the meeting, it was decided that the Austin City Council will hold off on any action concerning a stadium site until at least February 1, effectively giving the parties more time to consider the options. No final decision has been made on a relocation, and Crew SC is slated to spend the 2018 MLS season at its current home, MAPFRE Stadium. A temporary Austin facility would be required should the club decide to move for the 2019 season.

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