The Tacoma City Council approved a nonbinding letter of intent (LOI) for a proposed soccer stadium Tuesday, advancing a framework for funding the project.
Discussion has been ongoing in Tacoma about a proposed soccer-specific stadium to house Division II 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.
The nonbinding LOI outlines some potential funding sources for the stadium, calling for $15 million from the City of Tacoma ($10 million upfront, plus $5 million over two years), and $7.5 million from Metro Parks of Tacoma. In addition, 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. City Council approval Tuesday advanced the LOI, though that action does not finalize the project and there are still some areas of the funding plan that have to be pinned down. More from King 5:
Chris Henderson, Vice President of Soccer for the Seattle Sounders said the stadium would be good for Tacoma.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the community and the people in Tacoma,” he said. “For me it’s a no-brainer,” Henderson said.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring a soccer stadium to Tacoma. I look forward to hearing from our community about their thoughts on what this means for Tacoma,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards over the phone. Woodards has been supportive of the proposed stadium….
[Metro Parks Commissioner Aaron] Pointer said there are additional questions about where the remainder of the funds would come from. TSCOT has pledged $18.5 million in funding and hopes to pay for the rest of the project with New Markets Tax Credits.
The LOI is expected to be considered by the Metro Parks board in a separate vote on March 9. Currently, TSCOT is hoping to complete the stadium in time for the 2020 season, with the Defiance and Reign FC expected to continue using Cheney Stadium in the interim.
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