United Soccer League franchise Louisville City has announced that it will develop a 10,000-capacity soccer-specific stadium in the Butcherton Neighbourhood.
The club, which is in the second tier of US football, plans to transform the 40-acre piece of land into a stadium, with adjacent developments including office space, hotels and retail.
The new venue is set to be open for the 2020 season.
“Since receiving the results of the study, our board has explored a number of potential stadium locations, but none measured up to this site as a long-term home for Louisville City FC,” said club chairman John Neace. “We’re ready to solidify the future of LouCity, an important community asset.”
The space in the Butcherton Neighbourhood was occupied by the former Challenger Lifts headquarters, an above-ground oil tank facility, a storage space and auto salvage lot.
The franchise is working with the city government, Metro Council members and state economic development officials to push the project forward. Louisville currently plays at Louisville Slugger Field (pictured) and has made back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference Final of the USL Cup Playoffs after starting play in 2015.
“The concept of a master development agreement gives us the ability to build a stadium and commercial value around it that can assist in funding the stadium,” said Louisville board member Mike Mountjoy. “We want to thank Mayor Greg Fischer and his team for working side by side with us in planning this project.”
USL has mandated that its members all move into soccer-specific stadiums by 2020. Louisville pays rental fees at Slugger Field, which it shares with American minor league professional baseball franchise the Louisville Bats, as well as covering the cost of converting the field between the two sports. Sponsorship opportunities are limited, and concession revenue does not go to the soccer club.
Louisville has commissioned global architecture firm Hok for stadium design of a facility expandable to 20,000 seats, should the opportunity to move to Major League Soccer present itself.
Initial renderings show seating within close vicinity of the pitch, a suite level and amenities including roofs and multiple video boards.
“I want to thank our owners for all of their work toward getting us into a home of our own,” said Louisville coach James O’Connor. “It’s vital we play on a proper pitch, and I know a soccer-specific stadium is something our fans deserve. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Louisville City FC.”