Austin City Council directs staff to analyze North Austin site for potential MLS stadium

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt is targeting a city-owned property on McKalla Place as a potential Major League Soccer stadium site in Austin.

Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt is targeting a city-owned property on McKalla Place as a potential Major League Soccer stadium site in Austin.

Update: 10 a.m. Friday–Precourt Sports Ventures attorney Richard Suttle said the Columbus Crew ownership is "appreciative and excited" about the comments from supporters and the city's decision to move forward with an analysis of McKalla Place.

"Now it is time to get to work on all the details that need to be analyzed and studied to bring this stadium site to life," Suttle said.

Original story–Austin City Council moved on to its next step to vet a city-owned North Austin site as a potential location for a Major League Soccer franchise.

The council voted unanimously, with members Leslie Pool and Ellen Troxclair off the dais, to authorize a resolution directing City Manager Spencer Cronk to have staff analyze the site and provide a detailed assessment of the potential community benefits of an MLS stadium.

The vote occurred just after midnight Friday morning, after the resolution was moved to the final item of the night because the address of the site was originally incorrectly listed on the resolution as McKalla Lane instead of McKalla Place.

Despite the change, 10 members of the public stayed late in council chambers through Thursday night and into Friday morning to voice their opinions whether the council should allow Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt to relocate his team and build a new stadium in North Austin.

Lee Nichols, representing North Austin Soccer Alliance, said he supported the idea of an MLS franchise coming to the city but hoped the council would recognize it holds a valuable property that Precourt Sports Ventures will covet.

“I hope council will hold PSV’s feet to the fire and demand the community sees a return on our investment,” Nichols said.

Former Travis County auditor Susan Spataro said she would rather see the land be used to build affordable housing, an idea the city considered in 2014.

“The community values in Austin are really what are being looked at,” Spataro said.

In December, city staff recommended eight locations as prime sites for a new soccer stadium. Three of those sites were city parkland. After many members of the public spoke against using any parkland for an MLS site, Precourt released a statement on March 8 saying he was “impressed with the potential” at McKalla Place.

The city-owned property in North Austin has required environmental remediation in the past. The city bought the property in 1995 from Reichhold Chemicals and originally planned to construct the Austin Water Utility North Service Center there. However, according to a 2014 memo from Lauraine Rizer, the city’s officer of real estate services, construction stopped in 2003 “due to an explosion during excavation.”

Precourt sent a letter to the council on Tuesday, March 13, outlining the community benefits of a privately built stadium on public land at McKalla Place.

He said the stadium itself would cost $200 million to construct, while the presence of a Major League Soccer franchise would bring in a total of $326 million in value to the community.

The deadline for city staff to complete its report and for Cronk to report back to the council, according to the resolution, is June 1.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


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