Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Columbus Crew has revealed further details for the mixed-use neighbourhood which will sit adjacent to its new stadium, with its name designed to pay tribute to the origins of the sport in America.

Plans for the neighbourhood were first detailed in May 2020, when Haslam Sports Group and the Edwards Family, investor-operators of the Crew, announced the creation of a joint venture for the commercial development of what was then called Confluence Village.

The announcement was made in conjunction with Columbus-based The Pizzuti Companies, which yesterday (Tuesday) teamed up with Haslam Sports Group to flesh out the plans. Anchored by the new 20,000-capacity stadium, which is due to open in July, the neighbourhood features internationally inspired Class-A offices with ground-floor retail, multi-family living, and a “globally recognised” art program.

The master plan ultimately focuses on creating an active, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood within a park-like, riverfront setting. Astor Park has been named to pay homage to the location where soccer was officially made a national sport.

Founded in New York City in what was the time’s most noteworthy hotel, in April 1913 Astor House saw Thomas Cahill establish the United States Football Association, which later became the United States Soccer Federation. 

Development of Astor Park features the work of a project team including design architecture by Goettsch Partners; landscape architecture by MKSK; and branding by Blackletter. 

“We are committed to designing and programming a walkable neighbourhood that not only adds to the vibrancy of the community, but provides opportunities for people to gather, live with art, enjoy outdoor activities, and experience one of the nation’s most dynamic, world-class soccer stadiums,” said Joel S. Pizzuti, president and chief operating officer of The Pizzuti Companies.

Nestled in a previously untapped part of downtown, Astor Park provides further connectivity to surrounding communities via its two-acre public park and a new pedestrian bridge, currently under construction by the City of Columbus.

Situated on the east bank of the Olentangy River, the park will connect Astor Park to the west side of the Olentangy River where visitors and locals will have direct access to the Olentangy Trail and the Central Ohio Greenway (COG) network.

Following the New Crew Stadium’s opening in July, the second phase of construction within the neighbourhood will focus on the residential component and is expected to break ground in the fourth quarter of the year with an estimated completion date of Q2 2023. 

“We love how Astor Park is evolving and are excited for the Columbus community to experience the neighbourhood in so many unique and exciting ways,” said Dee Haslam, CEO of Haslam Sports Group. 

“We’re certainly thrilled that New Crew Stadium within Astor Park points to the exciting future of Crew SC, Major League Soccer and the world-class city of Columbus. While the name Astor Park was derived from its historic soccer roots, we know the neighbourhood itself will be vibrant and dynamic with great energy year-round from people working, living, and enjoying the beautiful green space.”

The Astor Park announcement comes just days after Columbus Crew launched a new food and beverage experience for its future home. Crew Kitchen will serve as the dining and hospitality team of the New Crew Stadium, creating food and beverage experiences across concessions, catering, on-site clubs and suites.

Image: Haslam Sports Group/Pizzuti Companies