If built, a potential downtown Spokane stadium could host a USL club, a USL official and Spokane County’s treasurer said Tuesday.
During a Tuesday press conference, Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner and USL chief operating officer Justin Papadakis made the case for building a new downtown stadium. The plan would call for the venue to host a team in Division III USL League One, while being designed to accommodate events such as high school football games, concerts, graduations, and more.
The pair also expressed their belief that a new downtown stadium could be constructed for less than the $31 million that has been estimated for a venue at the Joe Albi Stadium site, located in the northwest part of the city. However, they also emphasized that the USL’s interest in the Spokane market is limited to the downtown stadium concept. More from The Spokesman-Review:
Regardless, Baumgartner and Papadakis made it clear that a pro soccer team would play only at a downtown facility. Both touted the synergy of a sports nexus that also would include the Arena and the ongoing Sportsplex project, plus the expectation of other economic and cultural benefits.
“I want to make sure that my taxes, just like yours, are going to the most fiscally responsible projects they can find,” Baumgartner said.
“Nothing will happen that’s not a win-win for Spokane,” he added.
A similar concept has been pitched in the past, as an idea floated in 2018 called for the construction of a downtown Spokane stadium that would host professional soccer and high school football. That plan, however, effectively stalled in November of that year, when voters favored a new facility at the Joe Albi Stadium site in northwest Spokane over the downtown location in an advisory referendum. More recently, Baumgartner has been lobbying for reconsideration of a downtown stadium. Following the November 2018 advisory referendum, the Spokane Public Schools adopted plans for a stadium at the Joe Albi site, but that concept is still in the preliminary design phase.
Rendering of proposed downtown Spokane stadium issued prior to the 2018 refrendum courtesy Trek Architecture.