The two main pieces to MLS having a future in Columbus are finding a committed owner -- Anthony Precourt
wasn't -- and a new home for the Crew.
The proposed new ownership group led by Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Pete Edwards, Jr. checks the first box and they will check the second themselves if their plans for a $230 million, 20,000-capacity stadium in the Arena District go ahead.
The soccer stadium to replace Mapfre Stadium will be part of a $645 million mixed-use development site on 33 acres that would include a riverfront park and 885 residences as well as private commercial and office space for up to 1,300 employees.
“This is the next step in what some may have thought was an impossible dream,” said Alex Fischer, President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership that has been pushing to find a solution for the MLS situation in Columbus. “Today’s announcement showcases our community’s commitment, in partnership with the Haslam and Edwards Families, to MLS soccer in Columbus. The creativity behind this one-of-a-kind public-private partnership brings together a vision for a new stadium with a broader community development plan. Columbus will be the national standard-bearer of what defines collaborative relationships between professional sports teams and their communities.”
Next steps include reaching a memorandum of understanding with the city of Columbus and county of Franklin County on key details of the deal. A public hearing was held on Thursday at the Columbus city council offers.
Part of the plan is to turn Mapfre Stadium, the Crew's home since Lamar Hunt opened it in 1999, into the Columbus Community Sports Park for sports of all kinds, including indoor soccer.