Legislation Will No Longer Affect Austin FC Stadium Agreement

Austin FC stadium

State legislation that Precourt Sports Ventures warned could jeopardize Austin FC’s viability has been amended, and would no longer apply to the club’s new stadium agreement.

Backed by Anthony Precourt‘s Precourt Sports Ventures, Austin FC is slated to begin MLS play in 2021 at a new stadium at the city-owned McKalla Place in North Austin. Under its agreement with the city, PSV will privately finance a $240 million stadium at the site, with the facility to fall under city ownership. PSV would not pay property taxes, but instead enter into a 20-year lease with the city for $1 for the first five years before rent payments jump to $550,000 annually beginning in year six.

The fact that PSV would not pay property taxes has become a source contention for some, as the city’s agreement prevents other taxing jurisdictions from collecting property taxes on the stadium. In response, Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt introduced a bill that would effectively allow other eligible jurisdictions to opt-in to collecting property tax from the stadium.

In testifying against the legislation last month, PSV president Dave Greeley warned that the bill could jeopardize the club’s future because of the financial implications it could have if approved into law. This week, Bettencourt revealed that he is proceeding with an amended bill that will effectively grandfather in PSV’s agreement with Austin. More from the Austin American-Statesman:

Senate Bill 1771 would have given Travis County, the Austin school district and other local taxing entities the ability to collect property taxes on the MLS stadium set to be built in North Austin, something that could’ve been a deal breaker for the project. But this week, the bill’s author Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, amended the bill to grandfather in the city’s deal with Precourt Sports Ventures.

“It will grandfather in everyone that has an existing … deal in place prior to Sept. 1, 2019,” Bettencourt said at a meeting of the Senate’s Property Tax Committee….

At an April 16 meeting of the Senate Property Tax Committee, Precourt Sports Ventures President Dave Greeley said SB 1771 would “jeopardize the viability of Austin FC” team. It was during that meeting that Bettencourt floated the idea of changing the bill to only apply to deals made after the law would take effect.

“We don’t want to try to redo existing deals already on the table,” Bettencourt said Tuesday. SB 1771 “sets a future precedent so we don’t have quite frankly the disruption in the community that we witnessed in Travis County, where taxing units were overwritten by the city and were not able to have their voice be heard on an important issue. Let’s change the practice for the future.”

Austin FC is hoping to break ground on the stadium in September, with a goal of completing the facility by the 2021 MLS season.

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