No win, no loss, just another delay for Austin soccer stadium deal


And so the match goes to penalty kicks.

The Austin City Council was unable to work its way to a vote late Thursday on a deal for the owner of the Columbus Crew soccer team to privately finance a Major League Soccer stadium on city-owned land in North Austin.

The council said it would call another meeting for Wednesday morning, and Mayor Steve Adler promised that the stadium issue finally would be resolved with an up-or-down vote.

Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt, who was in council chambers, declared his intention nearly 10 months ago to move his team to Austin next year, playing in a temporary facility until a new facility at a site known as McKalla Place could be completed for 2021.

Council members proposed 20-some amendments, mostly asking for more out of Precourt, onto a term sheet agreed upon by the city staffers and Precourt Sports Ventures.

“I think a lot of these amendments are poison pills designed to kill the deal,” Adler said.

PHOTOS: MLS supporters gather at Austin City Hall on Aug. 9

The council voted unanimously five months ago to vet McKalla Place, an unused 24-acre plot near the Domain shopping center, as a potential city-owned home for the MLS team, which would be the first major-league franchise in Austin.

PSV and MLS wanted an answer by the end of June. PSV was granted an extension by the league to Aug. 9. Now the negotiation still is up in the air.

“We will have to ask for another extension from the league,” said Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who works for PSV, about a special meeting next Wednesday.

Thursday’s meeting brought spirited debate, first among public speakers and then among the council members. Council Member Leslie Pool, whose district includes McKalla Place, and Alison Alter led the forces opposed to a deal. Adler spoke in favor of the negotiation.

When Adler made a motion that no new amendments be added after Thursday night, council members Alter and Kathie Tovo objected.

“A vote tonight would fail. If we work to get this right, maybe it would pass (Wednesday),” Alter said.

To which Adler responded, “I think a vote tonight would pass.”

Both PSV and council sources told the American-Statesman that the potential vote looks extremely close. Six votes are needed to pass from the 11-member City Council.

Meanwhile, developers who have recently proposed other uses for the McKalla site were barely mentioned the entire night. Six plans besides Precourt’s were submitted for McKalla Place, only one linking an MLS stadium to the site. There was almost no discussion of them by the council members, and it is unclear whether or how they will re-enter the process.



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