Affordable Housing Added to Austin MLS Stadium Proposal

Austin MLS stadium McKalla Place rendering 2

Precourt Sports Ventures has made a notable change to its Austin MLS stadium proposal, adding affordable housing to the overall project. 

PSV is currently seeking to move Columbus Crew SC to Austin, and has proposed a new soccer-specific stadium for the team at the city-owned McKalla Place in North Austin. The stadium would be one component of a larger project, which has now been modified to included dedicated space for affordable housing. The plan now includes up to 130 affordable housing units that would be constructed on the site, along with a four-story parking garage that would have room for up to 600 cars.

Austin officials are still debating the MLS proposal, and affordable housing is one possible alternative for McKalla Place that has come up in discussions. PSV is proposing to construct affordable housing units at McKalla Place as part of partnership with Foundation Communities, a local nonprofit. More from the Austin-American Statesman:

Richard Suttle, a lobbyist for PSV and MLS, said that the affordable housing would be built in partnership with Foundation Communities, a local nonprofit that provides affordable housing and other services. It is not clear how much the development would cost or how it would be funded.

“At this point in the process, there are a lot of scenarios that may work. In an effort to respond to ideas we have heard in our meetings with the community, our planners have looked at how to integrate additional uses on the site including the potential for on-site affordable housing,” Suttle said in a statement to the American-Statesman.

In its June 1 proposal, PSV pledged an upfront cash contribution of $500,000 to Foundation Communities for a new Waters Park Studio development and $125,000 annually to the organization.

“Their willingness to help fund our Waters Park site in North Austin and their open mindedness to the possibility of affordable housing going onsite at McKalla Place shows what kind of partner they would be for the city and this community,” said Walter Moreau, executive director for Foundation Communities.

PSV is seeking to move the Crew to Austin in time for the 2019 MLS season, and has sought to secure an agreement by the end of this month, before the city council goes on a break that runs until August 9. The modified proposal comes ahead of a key city council meeting Thursday, during which two McKalla Place-related resolutions will be up for discussion. One with four co-sponsors–including Austin mayor Steve Adler and three council members–calls for the city manager to analyze the proposal and begin negotiations for the stadium. Meanwhile, another with four co-sponsors–including council member Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place– calls for the city to solicit development proposals for the site.

It remains to be seen how Thursday’s votes will unfold. While PSV has previously expressed concerns that the resolution to solicit development proposals would stall stadium discussions, Pool has billed the resolutions as complementary. More from the Austin American-Statesman:

A bidding process could muddy the waters and stretch the timeline for the MLS ownership group that says it needs an agreement this summer to move the team here by the end of the year. Council Member Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place, said the two resolutions are complementary.

Pool has backed off a full request-for-proposal process that typically takes months and supports a compromise where all interested parties submit their bids perhaps as early as the next council meeting Aug. 9.

“We need to have all options on the table,” she said. “I think this puts us in the best negotiating position. If one party thinks they have a clear field, it’s a weaker negotiating position than if they knew they had competition.”….

Each resolution has four co-sponsors. Of the three uncommitted council members, Jimmy Flannigan made some points favorably received by the soccer crowd, Ann Kitchen indicated she would vote “yes” for both resolutions and Greg Casar did not make any remarks during the one-hour soccer discussion, although he later told the Statesman his office is working on a position statement.

The new $200 million stadium at McKalla Place would be privately financed by Crew investor-operator Anthony Precourt. Should the club relocate to Austin in time for the 2019 season, it would spend the 2019 and 2020 campaigns at an existing venue in the area before opening the new stadium at McKalla Place in 2021.

Rendering courtesy Gensler Sports Practice.

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