The city of Austin has unveiled eight potential sites that could house a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium or training facility.
Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV), owner of Major League Soccer franchise Columbus Crew, confirmed that it is looking to relocate the club to Austin, Texas in 2019 if a suitable site for a privately funded stadium can be identified.
Austin has listed five park spaces that could be used, which include Guerrero Metro Park (both as a stadium and practice field), Walnut Creek Sports Complex (practice field), Butler Shores at Town Lake Metro Park/Toomey Fields (stadium), Bolm Road District Park (practice field), and the Travis County Expo Center (stadium and practice).
“We’re encouraged. It looks like the city did an exhaustive search of land, and they turned up some interesting possibilities,” Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who’s working for Precourt Sports Ventures, told the American-Statesman.
“We were familiar with several of these places, but some of them are new. We look forward to going over the pros and cons of each site with the city. It’s clear this project is moving forward.”
Butler Shores, previously described as “near perfect” by Suttle, is known to be Precourt’s current top choice site for a 20,000-seat stadium that could cost $200m (£150m/€170m) to build. PSV last week released a mock-up (pictured) of what a new MLS stadium could look like at the Butler Shores location.
As well as under-utilised parkland, the city also proposed two spaces that could be transformed into stadiums, which are a vacant Home Depot lot at Interstate 35 and St. Johns Avenue and a lot at 10414 McKalla Place.
Several years ago, the city purchased the Home Depot land for $6.9m, but no plans for its use have come to fruition.
“The McKalla Place site is outside the core, but it sounds interesting to us,” Suttle said. “We’ll have to take a closer look at what’s around there. I don’t know much about the Home Depot property.”
A survey commissioned by Precourt Sports Ventures in October, shows three out of four people living in Austin approve of bringing a MLS club to town, out of 400 people polled.
“We selected Opinion Analysts to handle the poll because we knew they would give us data we needed to hear, not just what we wanted to hear to continue this community dialogue,” Dave Greeley, president of Precourt Sports Ventures, said.
“What’s exciting is to have affirmation from this independent polling service that Austin would truly value having a Major League Soccer team here.”