Ten months after it was revealed Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt
wanted to move his MLS team to Austin, the city took the first big step to making that happen.
The Austin city
council approved by a vote of 7-4 a measure that allows the city staff to negotiate and execute a stadium agreement at city-owned McKalla Place with Precourt Sports Ventures.
backed away from projects at city-owned riverfront parks closer to downtown because of community opposition, Precourt Sports Venture directed its attention on McKalla Place and 24 acres of city-owned
land in North Austin, its third choice and last option for the site of a soccer stadium that will cost the $200 million. Framework for a
City council meetings extended into the late summer but the framework for a term sheet was negotiated, then re-negotiated and re-negotiated some more.
things, the 25-page term sheet covered
The city will retain ownership to the land.
It will charge PSV $550,000 in rent annually beginning in Year 6 of the agreement. Over the next 15 years -- the initial
agreement is for 20 years -- that's $8.25 million in rent PSV will pay.
PSV will retain all revenues from the stadium (minus taxes).
-- Site work.
PSV will pay
for site preparation and infrastructure around the stadium (estimated to cost at least $3 million).
-- Capital repairs.
PSV and the city will share in putting money aside, also beginning
in Year 6, to pay for capital repairs. Wednesday's amendments.
At Wednesday's council meeting, 28 proposed amendments
to the term sheet were presented. A week earlier, one of the main points of contention
the council was PSV's community benefits agreement and how it neglected to cover girls programs. That did not come up on Wednesday as council members made their case to extract tougher terms out of
The amendments agreed to included one proposed by council member Delia Garza
, who ended up supporting the stadium project. It calls for PSV to make $3 million in payments to
the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority for transit-related improvements and $640,000 to bus and other transportation facilities. (The cost of moving a MetroRail line to next to the stadium
is roughly $13 million.) Back in Columbus ...
PSV's plan is to have the stadium ready by the 2021 MLS season but leaves open
the question of the Crew's future in Columbus and where the team would play if it moved after the current season.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
has sued PSV and MLS and is
seeking enforcement of a statute -- the so-called Modell Law -- requiring teams using tax-supported facilities to give notice -- six months -- and local investors a chance to buy the team. Just what
constitutes notice and how negotiations take place are among the issues the court is grappling with.
MLS's position has been that it is reluctant to move the Crew, but any long-term
situation in Columbus would require a better stadium situation that there is now -- MAPFRE Stadium, opened in 1999, is the oldest MLS soccer-specific stadium -- and significantly greater local