The Louisville City FC (USL) stadium project has cleared a major hurdle, as state officials have approved the use of tax-increment financing (TIF) for the plan.
Louisville City FC and Louisville officials have been working on a plan that includes a new soccer-specific stadium and surrounding development in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood. Louisville Metro Government has already approved $30 million in bonding for the project, with just over $24 million going toward land acquisition and the remainder used for infrastructure improvements.
The overall project calls for retail, two hotels, dining space, and offices to be built through private investment and backed by TIF. It was left to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) to approve the TIF, which it did on Thursday. The authority granted $21.7 million in financing, which was lower than what the club had originally sought. However, the approval still marks a major step in the effort to complete the stadium by the 2020 USL season. More from the Courier-Journal:
The $21.7 million awarded Thursday falls short of the $30-35 million Louisville City FC owners had hoped to receive.
“We certainly would have liked to get as much as it possibly could’ve been, but we are happy with what we’ve got,” club co-owner Mike Mountjoy said. “This is a significant commitment on the state’s part. The city did its part with the acquisition of the ground and the sale back to us and the master development agreement. Now we’ve got the state stepping in and giving back a substantial portion of the sales use and property tax we generate building all this.”
Louisville City FC must be playing in a soccer-specific stadium by March 2020 to remain a member of the United Soccer League. Construction is expected to begin in August.
“I used to tell my developers, ‘Don’t open the champagne bottle until the job is finished,'” Mountjoy said. “We have come a long way but we have a long way to go … We’ll rest in 2020 when we open the doors and let fans stream into that stadium for 2020.”
Under terms previously approved by the metro council, Louisville City FC’s owners must spend at least $130 million in private capital on the project, with $45 million going toward the stadium. When it opens, the new stadium will replace Louisville Slugger Field as the club’s home. The new Louisville City FC stadium will feature a seating capacity of 11,300–up from the previously planned capacity of 10,000–and could eventually be expanded in the event that the club makes a move to MLS.
RELATED STORIES: Louisville City FC Stadium TIF Gets Preliminary Approval; Best of 2017, #8: Louisville City FC Pitches a New Stadium; Metro Council Approves Louisville City FC Stadium Bonds; Legal Opinion: Private Funding in Louisville City FC Stadium Project Not Enforceable; Meetings on Louisville City FC Stadium Slated for Thursday; Louisville City FC Stadium Vote Delayed; Louisville City FC Stadium Plan Takes a Step Forward; New Louisville City FC Stadium Project Unveiled