Two days before a vote on a Major League Soccer stadium deal, four Austin City Council members who’ve been critical of the deal proposed new terms to the owners of the Columbus Crew.
In a memo sent out Tuesday, council members Leslie Pool, Alison Alter, Ora Houston and Ellen Troxclair offered a new set of demands for a deal with Precourt Sports Ventures to build a stadium at city-owned McKalla Place tract of land in North Austin. On July 27, city officials released a term sheet they had negotiated with PSV officials. That term sheet will be discussed at Thursday’s council meeting.
Among the conditions the four council members are asking for:
• Escalating annual rent for the team starting at $958,720. The current term sheet was negotiated to an average of $412,500 annually over an initial 20-year lease.
• Additional escalating payments starting at $958,720 to the Austin Independent School District, Travis County government, Austin Community College and Central Health. In the current proposal, these governmental entities would receive no money in the stadium deal.
• Requiring PSV to pay for a Capital Metro rail station, estimated to cost around $12 million.
• Requiring a final agreement to return to council for approval.
• Adding a $3 per ticket surcharge, with $1 each going toward mobility improvements, the Housing Trust Fund and the General Fund.
All of the proposed amendments align with the principles that the same four council members detailed in a Statesman op-ed in June, prior to the last council vote that approved negotiations with PSV.
“Unfortunately, the negotiated soccer stadium terms provided in the term sheet do not meet these principles,” read their joint statement. “… This package would not provide us with everything we would ideally want to see in such a deal, but we believe it would nevertheless be a significant improvement.”