Details of potential McKalla Place soccer deal emerge


Highlights

MLS owners would avoid property taxes but would pay rent.

Nonrelocation clause, financial stipulations to protect city.

Affordable housing and 8 acres of green park space included.

Property taxes: no. Rent: yes.

Those are two of the top takeaways from a proposed deal hammered out by the city of Austin and Precourt Sports Ventures to build a Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place.

A term sheet revealed late Friday shows a $200 million, 20,000-seat stadium would be privately financed at the North Austin location, with the city retaining control of the 24-acre site. That would allow owners of Columbus Crew SC, who aim to move to Austin, to avoid property taxes.

However, Precourt Sports would pay $550,000 per year in rent after year five, or $8.25 million over an initial 20-year lease. In PSV’s initial proposal to the city last month, the group wanted to lease for $1 a year.

The term sheet, the product of a month of negotiations, indicates plenty of give-and-take between the two sides. The city insisted on stronger financial protections — including a nonrelocation clause for a franchise planning to uproot from Ohio. PSV did not want to fully fund a new $13 million Capital Metro rail station, and that item, important to many City Council members, was tabled for further discussion.

Council Member Kathie Tovo told the American-Statesman on Saturday that she’s reviewing the 25-page document. Other council members were not available for comment.

The council will have a special meeting Wednesday to hash out the potential deal and accept public input. On Aug. 7, the council will again take it up at a work session and probably sort through bids from developers submitting nonsoccer, mixed-use visions for McKalla. The council is expected to vote at an Aug. 9 meeting.

“The city took steps — and PSV agreed — to eliminate all city risk and out-of-pocket expense with the stadium construction,” Austin MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who works for PSV, said in a statement.

“PSV has also agreed to provide additional financial consideration to Austin for the use of the land, along with extensive community benefits that average over $3.2 million in direct cash investments annually, and agreements for the protection of nearby neighborhoods and businesses.”

The term sheet said the parties will work together on a traffic impact analysis and work with neighborhood groups and businesses to lessen the effects on their properties, but it did not go into much detail. There will be only 1,000 on-site parking places. The deal calls for the club to make efforts to develop transportation options and identify off-site parking.

Infrastructure upgrades are needed in the McKalla Place area, bordered by Braker Lane and Burnet Road, and PSV will commit to prepayment of rent for those improvements, although details remain vague.

The initial lease would be for 20 years, with three 10-year renewals, and the club would retain all revenue generated on MLS match days.

The city insisted that “Austin” be a part of the team name. So no ATX United or ATX Armadillos. MLS already has trademarked two names: Austin FC and Austin Athletic.

The city will be able to review Anthony Precourt’s stadium financing, a source of contention with some council members. If PSV fails to provide reasonable evidence of its financing plan, the city may terminate the agreement and be reimbursed certain fees and costs.

An affordable housing element calls for 130 units in a 1-acre space of McKalla Place, plus a $500,000 up-front cash donation and $4.8 million over 20 years.

Keeping with the soccer park theme PSV is pushing, there will be 8 acres of green space, open space and performance areas accessible to the public year-round.

“The project will not just be a stadium. It will include open space and performance areas that can host events, festivals and cultural activities,” Suttle said.

The term sheet places the value of PSV’s community benefits package at $95.9 million over 20 years, slightly up from $93.2 million in the original proposal.

Also:

• The city will have major input and approval rights on design and construction of the stadium.

• The city will work with PSV to identify proper sites for the team headquarters and a training facility.

• The city will have use of the stadium, rent free, for five in-bowl events a year. Those could go to local school districts.

• Both sides will contribute toward a capital repairs fund for the stadium.

• The club will distribute an average of 1,000 complimentary tickets per match, including 100 per game to the city.

• The club will fund a youth development academy, soccer clinics and scholarships and allow the city and area groups meeting and conference space at the stadium when it is not in use.



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