Austin MLS Stadium Vote Delayed

Austin MLS stadium McKalla Place rendering 3

An Austin MLS stadium vote that was slated to be held Thursday was ultimately delayed, leaving questions about the proposal for now. 

Precourt Sports Ventures has continued its effort to move Columbus Crew SC to Austin, pitching a new stadium at the city-owned McKalla Place in North Austin. The group was hoping to have a city council vote Thursday that would authorize negotiation of agreements for its MLS proposal, helping to potentially facilitate a move to the city by the 2019 season.

Thursday’s meeting, however, did not yield a vote, as several councilmembers sought to introduce amendments to the term sheet between the city and PSV. With the council unable to come to a consensus, no vote was conducted Thursday, leaving next Wednesday as the target date for a decision. More from the Austin American-Statesman:

Council members proposed 20-some amendments, mostly asking for more out of Precourt, onto a term sheet agreed upon by the city staffers and Precourt Sports Ventures.

“I think a lot of these amendments are poison pills designed to kill the deal,” [Austin Mayor Steve] Adler said….

“We will have to ask for another extension from the league,” said Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who works for PSV, about a special meeting next Wednesday.

Thursday’s meeting brought spirited debate, first among public speakers and then among the council members. Council Member Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place, and Alison Alter led the forces opposed to a deal. Adler spoke in favor of the negotiation.

Under recently revised terms, Crew investor-operator Anthony Precourt would privately finance a $200 million venue at McKalla Place. The city would maintain control of the land, meaning that PSV would not pay property taxes. However, PSV would lease the land for $550,000 annually after year five, or $8.25 million over the initial 20-year agreement. In addition, the group would pay for site preparation and any cost overruns.

To this point, some members of the council have called for a stronger financial commitment from PSV, and it remains to be seen what decision it will make. Along with PSV’s plan, the city has received alternate development proposals for McKalla Place, with most favoring mixed-use concepts that do not include room for an MLS stadium. The council could decide to move forward with PSV, end discussions about the group’s concept and instead focus on an alternate development proposal, or pass on the all of the plans and leave the long-dormant site as is for the time being.

PSV has been seeking to relocate the Crew by 2019, with the club would spending two years an existing venue in the area. The new stadium would open in 2021.

Rendering courtesy Gensler Sports Practice.

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