Major League Soccer is still on the agenda for Thursday’s City Council meeting, but no action will be taken to advance the possibility of Columbus Crew SC moving to Austin.
Eight city-owned locations were identified in a work session Tuesday as either a potential stadium or training site, or both, and those could be discussed at the meeting. There also is expected to be a preliminary report issued outlining the impact an MLS team could have on the community.
Precourt Sports Ventures, which owns the Crew, is exploring a move to Austin for 2019 if a suitable stadium site is found.
However, city staff, after consultation with Major League Soccer and the Precourt group, decided to postpone the full report and any big decisions — or even votes — until February. The City Council will take a six-week winter break after Thursday.
A comprehensive soccer report — including economic analysis, traffic considerations, potential opportunities and challenges — will be available in January, according to a memorandum by Kimberley McNeeley, acting director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and presented to council in February. Council next meets Feb. 1 and Feb. 15.
At that point, recommendations or votes could be taken.
“This delay works for all parties,” said Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, part of the Precourt group. “As we worked through the process, it became clear to us and city staff that we might be rushing things a bit. They needed more time to do a thorough job and we needed more time to investigate and evaluate the site options.”
Suttle said PSV is well aware of three identified potential stadium sites on city parkland — Butler Shores, Guerrero Park and the Travis County Expo Center. Butler Shores, 200 S. Lamar near downtown, is considered the Precourt favorite.
But Suttle said his group didn’t know much about the two northern stadium sites presented Tuesday — 10414 McKalla Place, near the Domain at the intersection of Burnet Road and Braker Lane, and a former Home Depot tract of land near the intersection of Interstate 35 and U.S. 290. Those two are not on parkland.
Item 92 of 111 Thursday, provided it remains on the agenda in light of the full report’s postponement, will give council members and the public their chance to weigh in on the options.
It is impossible to predict when the item will come up because council sometimes jumps around in the order. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and, with a heavy agenda, could last late into the night.