Negotiations Over Austin MLS Stadium Agreement Continue

Austin FC stadium

Though they have not wrapped up, negotiations over an Austin MLS stadium agreement are ongoing and could be completed in the coming months. 

Back in August, the Austin City Council approved the term sheet for a McKalla Place land lease, clearing the way for Columbus Crew SC investor-operator Anthony Precourt to finance a $200 million MLS stadium at the city-owned McKalla Place. That led to the current negotiations, as Austin officials and Precourt Sports Ventures have to convert the term sheet into a finalized lease.

As part of the term sheet approved in August, either party could terminate the deal on October 9 if an agreement was not finalized. It is October 9 and no agreement has been completed, but discussions are still taking place. According to a city official, the October 9 date was never designed to be a hard deadline, so the two sides are still continuing their discussions and are working to finalize an agreement in the coming months. More from the Austin American-Statesman:

Lawyers from Precourt Sports Ventures and the city are still drafting the final lease and development contract for an MLS stadium at McKalla Place. The terms sheet approved by the City Council in August specified Oct. 9 as a day when either side could terminate the deal if a final agreement had not been reached. Although signatures are probably months away, representatives from both sides told the American-Statesman they have no intention of backing out.

“It was there as a fail-safe, just in case there were any substantial roadblocks and things just weren’t coming together,” city spokesman David Green told the Statesman. “It would allow either party to back out, but wasn’t meant as a hard deadline. We’re coming up on Oct. 9, and right now we’ve made very good progress. There isn’t any reason for either party to consider invoking that clause of the terms sheet at this time.”…

“We always said it would take 90 to 120 days,” Green said. “We’re still confident in that as a good window. November, December time frame, probably more likely to be December as both sides go through multiple reviews from their lawyers to make sure everything is aboveboard before anybody signs anything.”

While both sides agree things are moving smoothly, there are still several potential stumbling blocks, starting with the lingering uncertainty surrounding the possible move of Columbus Crew SC. Team investor-operator Anthony Precourt, who announced in October 2017 that he was exploring a move, intended to finalize it for the 2019 season, but MLS has yet to sign off. A lawsuit hangs over proceedings in Ohio, and appears unlikely to be resolved by the end of the 2018 season.

The new stadium at McKalla Place has been envisioned for a 2021 opening, meaning that the Crew would have to spend at least two seasons at an existing venue in the Austin area if it moved in time for the 2019 MLS campaign. However, the proposed relocation has not been finalized and no plans for a temporary venue have been announced.

Rendering courtesy Precourt Sports Ventures.

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