MLS to Austin: Precourt, city progressing toward contract


Highlights

McKalla Place stadium document draft may be ready in two weeks.

City-identified sites don’t appear to be in running for training complex.

Lawyers for Precourt Sports Ventures and the city of Austin are rolling along in turning the term sheet the City Council approved last month into a full-fledged contract that will result in a Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place.

A lot of fine-tuning was required because there were so many changes to the original term sheet presented to council members.

“We have begun drafting the lease and development agreement,” said David Green, media relations manager for the city. “Thanks to the approved term sheet being so detailed, we anticipate making good progress on it during the month of September.”

MLS lobbyist Richard Suttle, who works for PSV, said there have not been any significant hang-ups.

“The drafting schedule is on target, and I think we may see something by the 18th, and then we’ll look to red-line it,” Suttle said. “We hope it can all be wrapped up by early October.”

Suttle did not have any updates on a temporary two-year facility where Anthony Precourt’s MLS team could play while the stadium is being built in North Austin, but he said conversations are taking place with possible partners.

PSV has cast a wide net for a training complex, which is believed to include private property.

Two weeks ago officials from Round Rock and the Capital Area Youth Soccer Association, which owns 200 acres along U.S. 290 east of Manor, told the American-Statesman they have held talks with PSV.

It does not appear as if Precourt will try to tap into the five sites identified by the city staff last December for a potential training home: Burger Center, Bolm District Park, Walnut Creek Sports Park, Guerrero Colorado River Park and the Travis County Expo Center.

“We have not had any discussions with PSV in regards to a practice facility, at least as of last week,” Green said.

Suttle said he knew of no conversations between Precourt and city officials.

The Round Rock Express, a potential suitor for a temporary stadium, continue to tread lightly. Team officials want to book more quality events at Dell Diamond, but they aren’t sure how much soccer they can pull off.

“We want to showcase our venue,” Express General Manager Tim Jackson said. “We’ve still got to figure out what we can do.”

Complicating matters is the Triple-A baseball team’s affiliation agreement with the Texas Rangers ending. The negotiating window will open Sept. 16. Are the World Series champion Houston Astros, for instance, or the Rangers, willing to share the park with an MLS team?

There’s also a delicate situation involving Austin Bold FC, the USL expansion team that will play in a new facility at Circuit of the Americas. Ryan Sanders Baseball, which owns the Express, has the concession contract for COTA and that facility.

“We have to be sensitive to that,” Express President Chris Almendarez said. “It’s one more factor to consider.”



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