Steve Malik, the owner of the NASL's NCFC and NWSL's Courage, has partnered with a local developer on the 13-acre project, located on Peace Street, and says it checks every box.
"We’ve got lots of millennials living around it," he said. "We’ve got great walkability. Beyond the soccer, we’ve got 24-hour, [365-day] use for that property and that’s going to bring a lot of value to the community.”
The Peace Street project creates bigger challenges for Malik and his partners but also presents greater opportunities -- let alone would make it more attractive to MLS in the expansion sweepstakes.
“Frankly, it’s the harder path, right?" Malik told the Raleigh News & Observer. "There are more challenges in working through the downtown option. But we’ve chosen to take on that challenge, because so many people believe it’s the right thing for Raleigh.”
The $150 million stadium would located on state property, which creates a whole set of loops NCFC must go through. Still, Malik expressed confidence in talking with reporters that Raleigh can get a deal done in time to meet the MLS timetable for expansion.
MLS plans to announce its 25th and 26th teams in the second half of the year. It has not announced a timetable for the 27th and 28th teams.
A longer time frame would benefit bidders like Raleigh needing approvals from municipal authorities or voters to get stadium projects over the goal line.