Austin City Council Debates McKalla Place MLS Stadium Pitch

Austin MLS stadium McKalla Place rendering 1

The Austin City Council weighed a McKalla Place MLS stadium proposal Tuesday, another step in discussions about Columbus Crew SC’s potential move to the city. 

Precourt Sports Ventures is proposing the construction of a soccer-specific stadium at McKalla Place, a city-owned 24-acre site in North Austin. Under the terms of the proposal, Crew SC investor-operator Anthony Precourt will privately finance a $200 million stadium at the site while entering into an initial 20-year lease at $1 annually.

With the Crew looking to move as early as the 2019 MLS season, PSV has been attempting to secure an agreement by the end of this month, before the city council goes on a break that runs until August 9. It remains to be seen if an agreement can be struck in that time frame, but city council members discussed the plan during a work session Tuesday. Some council members–including Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place–are showing an interest in putting the property up for a bidding process, while PSV came away with a positive reaction to Tuesday’s discussion. More from the Austin-American Statesman:

“I came away excited because it was the first public airing of where council is on the proposal and the city analysis, and there was no poison pill or anything that indicated they could not move forward with this,” said Mark Littlefield, representing PSV.

“It is the will of the council to continue the conversation, sit down with PSV and city staff and get these questions they have answered and see if we can come to an agreement that works. This was all we could do today.”

Several council members said they have not had time to dig deep through Precourt’s 189-page proposal offered on June 1.

Mayor Steve Adler, a proponent of MLS at McKalla “with the right deal,” had little to say. Four council members — Greg Casar, Ora Houston, Ellen Troxclair (just back from maternity leave) and Delia Garza, who had to leave early — did not comment on the subject.

Pool reiterated that she will call for a bidding process at the June 28 meeting. Two developers have expressed interest in the property, one already making the city a $22.5 million offer.

The $22.5 million offer, submitted by developers Marcus Whitfield and John Chen, calls for the construction of housing and other amenities on the site. The proposal for the MLS stadium calls for the development of some other features, including parking, trails, and an outdoor performance space.

Discussions about the Crew’s relocation have picked up since last October–when it was revealed that Precourt was interested in moving the club to Austin–but no final decision has been made about the potential move. If the Crew does relocate to Austin in 2019, it would spend its initial seasons at another facility in the area until construction of the new stadium is complete.

Rendering courtesy Gensler Sports Practice.

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