A proposed FC Cincinnati training academy is being eyed for Milford, with the club looking to complete plans for the facility as it prepares for MLS.
FC Cincinnati’s MLS expansion bid was formally approved by the league last month, with the club slated to move from the Division II USL to MLS in 2019. Finalizing facility plans will be crucial for the organization as it prepares for its transition, and that includes the new concept for a training academy in Milford, a suburb of Cincinnati.
According to the proposal released by the team Tuesday, the complex would be constructed at Expressway Park and feature three full-size, lighted soccer fields (two grass, one artificial turf), plus a goalkeeper-specific training area. The facility would also feature a 30,000 square foot, multilevel building for MLS facilities and a separate structure for FCC academy teams. The goal is for FCC first team to use temporary facilities at the site starting in January 2019, with the complex fully operational by July.
Construction of the facility itself, estimated at $30 million, will be privately financed, though an additional 1% lodging tax in Clermont County is being pitched to help with associated costs. Details about the FC Cincinnati training academy were discussed at a Clermont County commissioner meeting on Wednesday, but more talks will have to take place before commissioners vote on the lodging tax proposal. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
An attorney for FC Cincinnati, Richard Spoor, said that an agreement detailing the responsibilities of each party will be available to the commissioners soon. The agreement is between Milford, the visitors bureau, the Clermont County Port Authority and the county.
The land and facility will be owned by the port authority and will be leased back to FC Cincinnati for 30 years, Spoor said.
The team will pay a minimal amount of rent on the land because it will pay a large amount of debt service for its stadium. The port authority is necessary for the equation to hold the title to the property, he said. Spoor indicated that Milford will handle the bonds, but the bonds could also end up as the responsibility of the port authority.
The commissioners did not vote on the lodging tax request Wednesday. Before taking any action, a public hearing will be held, Humphrey said.
The training academy is one component of the broader facilities plan that FC Cincinnati is carrying out as it prepares for MLS. Approval for a new stadium on Cincinnati’s West End was a factor in MLS’s decision to accept the club’s expansion bid, and the club is expected to announce more information about that venue on Friday. Until the new stadium opens, FC Cincinnati will play MLS matches at its current USL home, Nippert Stadium.
Rendering courtesy FC Cincinnati.