Offer Made for McKalla Place Development

Austin MLS stadium McKalla Place rendering 2

A pair of developers have proposed a new McKalla Place development to Austin officials, raising another possibility for a site that is being considered for an MLS stadium.  

Precourt Sports Ventures recently issued a proposal to build a new stadium at McKalla Place that would house the relocating Columbus Crew SC. Under its plan, Crew SC investor-operator Anthony Precourt would privately finance a $200 million stadium at the city-owned site in North Austin while entering into an initial 20-year lease at $1 annually. Along with the stadium, the development would feature a mix of amenities that includes parking, trails, and an outdoor performance space.

Discussions about that proposal are expected to take place over the coming weeks, but a pair of developers submitted an offer on Friday to buy the property for $22.5 million. Austin real estate developers Marcus Whitfield and John Chen are offering to purchase or lease the site from the city, and convert it into a development that includes housing and other amenities. More from The Austin American-Statesman:

Whitfield and Chen’s bid says that if a lease arrangement is preferable to the city, they would enter into an 80-year lease at $2.2 million per year, escalating 1.5 percent each year for a total payment of $335.9 million to the city.

When asked about his group’s sudden interest in a property that’s sat largely vacant for 20-plus years, Chen said the potential deal with Precourt shined a light on the former chemical company site with a history of major environmental problems.

“We never knew the city was serious about doing something with McKalla until it was essentially offered up to PSV,” Chen said. “The soccer search has bounced around to other parts of the city over the previous six months. Before city-owned property is given away, it should be part of an open and transparent process where all can discuss the impact to the city.

“This site has significant strategic possibilities, and we intend to adjust our bid if need be. If it deemed more cleanup is needed there, that will be another discussion.”

Whitfield and Chen describe their vision of McKalla Place as an “arts campus that will including housing, grocery, studios, parks and retail for local artists and craftspersons.”

Precourt Sports Ventures is proposing to move the Crew in time for the 2019 MLS season, allowing the club to play at another venue in the area until the new stadium opens in 2021. It has previously indicated that it wants to secure an agreement with the Austin City Council this month, before the council goes on a summer break that lasts until August 9.

Still, no final decision has been made about whether the club will relocate. Austin officials will also have to decide whether the MLS plan should move forward, or if more proposals for McKalla Place should be up for consideration. Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place, is reportedly planning to introduce a motion on June 28 that calls for the city to issue a request for proposals for the 24-acre site.

Rendering courtesy Gensler Sports Practice.

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