A not yet signed, nonbinding letter of intent provides a look at a potential new Tacoma soccer stadium funding model, showing a possible public-private partnership.
Last summer, details were released on a feasibility study for a proposal that includes a new soccer-specific stadium to house USL Championship’s Tacoma Defiance and the NWSL’s Reign FC. Estimated at $60 million dollars, the venue would be built on land surrounding Cheney Stadium–which is currently home to both clubs, along with Minor League Baseball’s Tacoma Rainiers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League)–and be part of a larger $300 million public-private project that includes athletic fields and new development.
New information about the proposal has surfaced, as a non-binding, yet-to-be-signed LOI obtained by the The News Tribune shows a potential funding model. Under that plan, The Soccer Club of Tacoma (TSCOT)–consisting of the Rainiers and Seattle Sounders–would contribute $18.5 million in form of $2 million upfront and the remainder through annual debt service payments, while covering any potential cost overruns. The City of Tacoma would contribute $15 million ($10 million upfront, plus $5 million over two years), while Metro Parks Tacoma would provide $7.5 million in up-front costs.
It is proposed in the letter that $12 million in potential New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) could help round out the funding plan, with an additional $7 million coming from public or private-sector dollars. The proposed LOI–which would be between TSCOT, the city, and Metro Parks Tacoma–was presented to the Metro Parks Board on Monday. More from The News Tribune:
To get to the estimated $60 million cost, another $7 million in public or private funding is still being determined. [Project consultant Tim] Thompson suggested turning to Pierce County, anticipating the stadium to have regional benefits.
TSCOT agrees in the letter to pay for any development costs over $60 million. They also pledged to provide 100 days of rent-free use as master tenant of the stadium.
TSCOT is also responsible for maintenance costs of the stadium, estimated to be $300,000 annually. Maintenance would be paid for through money generated by the stadium.
The letter of intent has not yet been signed. If the letter of intent is signed by all parties, the goal is to have a complete funding plan by March 31.
The Defiance and Reign FC are both returning to Cheney Stadium for their 2020 seasons.
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