FC Cincinnati Stadium Financing Details Released

FC Cincinnati Stadium rendering

Financing details on a proposed FC Cincinnati stadium are being released ahead of a key vote, laying out some terms for the $212.5-million facility. 

With the Cincinnati school board approving a land-swap agreement this week, there is some new momentum behind FC Cincinnati’s push to secure a new stadium on the city’s West End. Finalizing the stadium plan is key to the USL club’s ongoing MLS expansion bid, but now the Cincinnati City Council will have to weigh in on the issue.

The legislation being considered by the city calls for FC Cincinnati to privately pay for the stadium’s construction, with financing available through the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority (the stadium’s prospective owner). Meanwhile, the city would make a contribution for infrastructure improvements that includes 750 new parking spaces. That parking would be in addition to a 1,000-space garage that will be paid for by Hamilton County.

The city’s financial contribution includes $8 million from the Downtown/Over-the-Rhine East tax increment financing district, along with $7.2 million from the sale of Blue Ash Airport, up to $1.5 million annually for 30 years from hotel tax revenue, and $2.5 million from the capital fund. These terms are set to be considered by the Cincinnati City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, setting up what could be a busy week for the stadium proposal. More from The Cincinnati Enquirer:

The legislation has been referred to the Budget and Finance Committee. This committee meets Monday at 1 p.m. Eight of the nine council members are on the committee.

A special session of City Council could be held on Monday after the Budget and Finance meeting to vote on the ordinance. No meeting is scheduled, but one could be called with at least 24 hours advance notice. It could be convened by Mayor John Cranley or any two council members.

This would wrap up the city’s financial piece of a stadium deal ahead of Tuesday’s MLS board of governors meeting in New York City.

FC Cincinnati would construct its new soccer-specific venue at the site of the existing Taft High School’s Stargel Stadium, while building a replacement for Stargel Stadium at a nearby site. Current plans call for FC Cincinnati to play in a 21,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to 30,000.

The club currently plays its games at Nippert Stadium, but MLS has been clear in its desire for a new stadium. FC Cincinnati also considered sites in Oakley and Newport, KY, but those locations posed some issues, as Newport would have put the club outside of Cincinnati’s limits, while Oakley is further from the urban core than West End.

Along with bids from Detroit, Nashville, and Sacramento, FC Cincinnati was part of a slate of finalists considered by MLS in December. Though initially expected to pick two options by the end of 2017, MLS selected Nashville in December and held off on other decisions regarding the other candidates. While FC Cincinnati has been trying to pin down its stadium plans, Sacramento has been seeking additional investment. Detroit’s pitch, meanwhile, calls for sharing the existing Ford Field with the NFL’s Lions rather than the construction of a new soccer-specific stadium.

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