A key land deal for the new Columbus Crew SC stadium site could be announced as soon as this week, according to a report in the Columbus Dispatch.
The Crew has been working on a planned new stadium in the city’s Arena District, with the facility to anchor a larger mixed-use development known as Confluence Village. One of the crucial tasks that remains in the planning process is the acquisition of needed property at the proposed project site, currently under the control of Nationwide Realty Investors.
Haslam Sports Group has been in negotiations with Nationwide for roughly 20 acres of land, and it appears that the two sides are close to a deal. In fact, an agreement could be announced this week, though it would take a bit longer for it to be completely finalized. Still, it would help the Crew keep the stadium project on its previously disclosed timeline, which calls for an announcement on property acquisition this month, a groundbreaking in October, and an opening of the stadium during the 2021 MLS season. This is according to Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch:
The Haslam family, which owns the Cleveland Browns and with the Edwards family of Columbus helped save the Crew, is handling the purchase of the last parcel of land available in the Arena District (about 20 acres). Negotiations between Haslam Sports Group and Nationwide Realty Investors, which owns the parcel, have dragged on for months.
An agreement is nigh. I’ve heard that an announcement could come as soon as this week, maybe by Wednesday. I’ve also heard that there’s enough paperwork left that the deal won’t be rubber-stamped until mid-month — or later.
It appears that buyer and seller are confident that there is nothing left to interfere with the Crew’s timetable: an announcement of the purchase in August; shovels in the ground sometime in October; grand opening of the stadium in midsummer 2021.
Planning for the new stadium follows a development that saw Anthony Precourt explore a move of the Crew to Austin, only for a solution to emerge to keep the team in Columbus while allowing him to proceed with plans in the Texas capital. Jimmy and Dee Haslam–owners of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns–and the Columbus-based Edwards family bought into MLS and received operating rights to Columbus, and will be carrying out the plans for a new stadium. Precourt, meanwhile, remained an MLS investor and received rights to Austin, where Austin FC will begin play in 2021 as the league’s 27th team.
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