On Monday, the Columbus City Council approved the creation of a public authority that would assume ownership of a planned new Columbus Crew SC stadium.
Under the scope of the plans approved Monday, ownership of the planned MLS stadium will fall under the new Confluence Community Authority. The public entity will be overseen by a nine-member board–five members appointed by Columbus and Franklin County, the remaining four by the Crew–and could issue bonds that would help finance construction of the stadium.
This action comes as the Crew continues to plan the facility, which is slated for a site in the city’s Arena District and is intended to anchor a surrounding mixed-use development named Confluence Village. More from The Columbus Dispatch:
The council voted to declare the new Confluence Community Authority organized, defining its boundaries as the 28.66 acres west of the Huntington Park baseball stadium. The petition approved by the council to create the authority says the Crew team, acting as the project’s developer, “entered into that certain Purchase and Sale Agreement” with the land’s owner, Nationwide Realty Investors, which “has agreed to sell approximately 21.02 acres of the property.”
It also says the team “owns or ‘controls’ the property within the meaning of” the law creating the authority.
However, the petition goes on to spell out what happens if that land-purchase deal falls apart: “If the transfer (of land) does not take place” in accordance with the agreement, Nationwide Realty Investors’ parcel will be automatically removed from the new authority, or the council could even repeal the authority.
“The NRI parcel shall be automatically deleted and removed from the authority’s district in the event that the NRI parcel is not acquired by the (team) under the NRI Purchase and Sale Agreement,” the city’s former development director, Steve Schoeny, signed in an acknowledgment attached to the agreement.
The Crew has been hoping to break ground in October, with the stadium opening in the summer of 2021. It would replace MAPFRE Stadium as the club’s home.
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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