Austin Considers 8 Sites for MLS Stadium, Will Revisit Issue in 2018

Austin city staffers have identified eight city-owned sites that could house a Major League Soccer stadium or practice facility, according to Austin-American Statesman

The city released an in-depth report that outlines the pros and cons for each site as a home for a professional soccer team based on the history and economic impacts of MLS franchises in other communities. The 29-page document discusses the following sites: Butler Shores Park, Mckalla Property, a former St. Johns Home Depot, Walnut Creek Sports Complex, Travis County Exposition Center, Bolm Road District Park, Roy G. Guerrero Park and the Toney Burger Activity Center. Community Impact Newspaper created a map of the eight recommended sites.

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) recently unveiled its plans for a new sports and entertainment district in East Austin, which would replace the Travis County Expo Center, boosting opportunities for neighborhoods like Pflugerville, Manor, Elgin and Del Valle.

Precourt Sports Ventures, owners of Columbus Crew SC team are considering moving to Austin in 2019. According to Hill Country News, Dave Greeley, president of Precourt Sports Ventures, says Austin is “a 21st century American City” with the ideal demographics, attitude, and passion for soccer. Of the proposed locations, Greeley favors Butler Shores, the 15-acre, city-owned park near Zilker, because it is the only site confirmed to house a completely privately funded stadium. 

“All sites aren’t created equally,” Greeley says. “Our ability to move a team and activate the rights we have in Austin and privately finance a stadium, it’s 100 percent linked to the quality of the site. We just have to look deeper and that’s part of the community discussion and dialogue about if those sites will work or not.”

The other two park sites being considered are Roy G. Guerrero Park, close to home for residents of Pleasant Valley, and the Travis County Exposition Center, just 15 minutes from Downtown Austin—however, the city is also exploring possible locations that wouldn’t use parkland, such as the Mckalla Property in North Burnet

“(Austin lobbyist) David Butts says parkland is the ‘Madonna’ here in Austin,” says Mark Littlefield, a local lobbyist working for Precourt. “It’s sacred, and it can only be used for the people.”

The city identified Walnut Creek Sports Complex near North Point, Bolm Road District Park southeast of Johnston Terrace, and the Toney Burger Activity Center, north of Flournoy Acres and Sunset Valley Homestead, as suitable for only a practice facility. 

The city postponed action regarding the potential future home of a Major League Soccer stadium. The issue will return to the City Council in February 2018.

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