With two starkly different resolutions on the table, Thursday’s Austin City Council meeting could have a major effect on an Austin MLS stadium proposal for Columbus Crew SC.
Precourt Sports Ventures has proposed the construction of a new soccer-specific stadium at McKalla Place, a 24-acre site in North Austin that is owned by the city. The organization is seeking to move the Crew in time for the 2019 MLS season, and would have the club play two seasons at an existing venue in the area before moving it into the privately financed McKalla Place stadium in 2021.
Austin officials are still debating the proposal, and resolutions to be discussed Thursday would outline different paths in the discussions. One resolution 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 resolution 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.
PSV has expressed concerns over the resolution to consider development proposals for the site, warning that it could delay discussions and ultimately force the organization to look elsewhere. Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, the organization is continuing to express its concerns while Pool is defending the resolution. More from the Austin American-Statesman:
“I’d rather they find a private piece of property,” said Pool, who has concerns about traffic, parking and access to McKalla, which is in her council district. “PSV wants to wrangle a one-sided deal out of the city, set up on public land and avoid paying taxes.
“We already have two interesting proposals from developers. A (request for proposal) levels the playing field, and may the best man win.”
PSV insists it doesn’t have time for an RFP process, which usually takes months, because it is trying to move the team by the end of this year. Precourt and MLS also face pending litigation in the Ohio capital city.
Lobbyist Richard Suttle, representing PSV, told the Statesman passage of the bidding resolution threatens any soccer deal.
“The sheer enormity of the logistics that have to be solved to move a pro sports team points clearly to the fact a decision needs to be made by the council soon if this is going to be a reality,” Suttle said.
It was publicly revealed last fall that the Crew was considering a move to Austin, but no final decision on a potential relocation has been made. Under the terms of the McKalla Place proposal, Crew investor-operator Anthony Precourt will privately finance a $200 million stadium at McKalla Place while entering into an initial 20-year lease at $1 annually. PSV has been working to secure an agreement by the end of this month, before the city council goes on a break that runs until August 9.
Rendering courtesy Gensler Sports Practice.
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