Options for Austin MLS Stadium Sites Still Being Evaluted

Austin MLS Stadium rendering

Though some contenders are emerging, analysis of potential Austin MLS stadium sites for Columbus Crew SC is not quite complete. 

In December, the Austin City Council was presented with a report that included five city-owned sites that could potentially be used for a new stadium: Butler Shores, Roy Guerrero Metropolitan Park, the Travis County Exposition Center, McKalla Place, and a former Home Depot at St. Johns Avenue and Interstate 35. Since that report was released, Crew SC ownership group Precourt Sports Ventures has ruled out some of those sites.

Among them is the Expo Center, which is roughly 10 miles from downtown Austin and does not offer much in the way of existing entertainment options. In addition, the former Home Depot location appears to have been scrapped. For now, that seemingly leaves three possible contenders, but Austin and PSV still have plenty of tasks to accomplish.

While a city council meeting about stadium sites has been on the schedule for February 15, Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle says that the group needs to continue its analysis and that it is possible the agenda item could be pushed back. More from The Austin American-Statesman:

Suttle and PSV president Dave Greeley emphasized to the American-Statesman this week that a lot of work still needs to be done on their end and that any meaningful soccer action might be postponed from the Feb. 15 City Council agenda.

Late Wednesday Kimberly McNeeley, acting director of Austin Parks and Recreation, issued a memorandum saying that city staff will need a minimum of two months to provide property analysis and gather public input once PSV offers feedback on the sites. To this point, PSV has not given the city its preferred site.

“I don’t view Feb. 15 as the magic date,” Suttle said. “Analyzing the city sites is a very exhaustive process. We have traffic planners, architects, engineers, the best and the brightest involved. We’ve had meetings with in excess of 20 people.

“Between the holidays, flu season and winter storms, it’s been slow going. I’m not sure what, if anything, will be decided Feb. 15. It’s possible the agenda gets pushed back again. We’ve still got to complete our analysis of the remaining sites, to know exactly what PSV is willing to do and what doesn’t work for us.”

The group still appears to view Butler Shores, which it is referring to as Toomey Road, as a viable contender. Its setting and proximity to downtown Austin have been viewed as offering distinct advantages.

Discussion over Crew SC’s potential move to Austin has heated up since October, when club owner Anthony Precourt announced that he was exploring the market. Crew SC will spend the 2018 MLS season at Columbus’s MAPFRE Stadium, its home since 1999.

Rendering of Austin MLS stadium courtesy Precourt Sports Ventures.

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