Austin City Council is planning to discuss the official proposal from Precourt Sports Ventures to build a $200 million soccer park on the city-owned property at McKalla Place.
1. The proposal
Tuesday will be the first time council will discuss the proposal for a 20,000-seat stadium that, if approved, PSV would build at 10414 McKalla Place near the intersection of Burnet Road and Braker Lane.
PSV operates the Columbus Crew soccer team and would relocate the team by March 2019 to a temporary site and then build a stadium at McKalla. PSV President Dave Greeley said the company needs a response or direction from council by the end of June to make that deadline happen.
2. The parking
PSV is confident that it can produce a traffic management plan to handle up to 20,000 fans. The company has received a lot of flak over proposing only 1,000 parking spaces on-site and relying on ridesharing, public transit, shuttles and bicycles to accommodate the rest of the fans.
Greeley said the Crew’s current stadium has 7,000 parking spaces and takes an hour and a half to empty.
“So the definition of traffic is to put 7,000 parking spaces outside the stadium,” he said.
Unlike two other proposals for McKalla Place, PSV would not pay for building a new MetroRail station on the site.
Dan Vaillant, senior vice president of CAA ICON, a company that helps develop stadiums and arenas, said as part of the informal parking analysis, PSV identified 10,000 parking spaces within a 20-minute walk that could potentially be utilized for games and then have shuttles drop off fans.
He said the owners of the Domain Tower, which is under construction on Braker west of Burnet, have reached out about using their 2,400-spot parking garage.
An official traffic impact analysis would be one of the first things completed if the city decides to move forward with the MLS proposal.
3. The park
When the MLS stadium is not in use, PSV plans to have the soccer park be open to the public to enjoy a run, walking the dog, throwing a Frisbee, attending a farmers market or other community event, and enjoying concessions such as coffee or beer, Greeley said.
“When you have this sort of park space, this sort of open space, this sort of programmable space, it creates a distinct feel and it’s not just soccer at all,” he said.
The focus on offering parkland on top of a stadium, Greeley said, came from learning the North Austin area is park deficient.
“One of the things we’ve done all along, and it’s been very helpful for us because we want to come to Austin because we love everything about Austin, and in order to do that you need to listen and learn and you’ve heard Austin loudly and clearly,” he said.
Jonathan Emmett, design director for architecture firm Gensler, said the stadium would be lower so the main concourse and concessions would be at pedestrian level.
“We want to create a venue that really feels approachable and active on non game days,” he said.
4. The competition
Two other development proposals—both for mixed use and also include park space—emerged last week from area groups.
The first proposal from Austin-based Capella Capital Partners proposes to build 1,500 apartment units, 800,000 square feet of office space, 120,000 square feet of retail and restaurant spaces, 6 acres of green space, a MetroRail station and structured parking.
“We feel like overall this is a higher and better use than a soccer stadium,” Capella Chief Financial Officer Scott Moxham said.
Local developers Marcus Whitfield and John Chen have proposed 500 income-accessible housing units, as well as studios for artists, grocery store, wellness hub, educational workforce, 7 acres of parkland and a rail station.
“We have a desire to support the creative economy in Austin,” Chen said.
5. The land
PSV is proposing to lease the land from the city for $1 per year for 80 years and the property would not be added to the tax rolls, Greeley said. He also addressed community concerns that PSV is just trying to get the land for free.
“We’re not getting one thing for free,” Greeley said. “We are making a sizeable commitment and sizeable investment in Austin because we believe in Austin and we want to create something that all of Austin can enjoy.”
District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool has previously said she would like to see the land returned to the tax rolls.
Whitfield and Chen presented the city with an offer Friday morning to purchase the 24-acre site for $22.5 million, well above the $9.65 million value listed in the city’s report released June 1. The duo would also be open signing an 80-year lease with the city for $2.2 million per year, escalating 1.5 percent for a total amount of nearly $336 million.
“We made an offer to the city for McKalla Place because this property is Austin’s best opportunity for new affordable housing, jobs and public parkland,” Whitfield said. “We are proud to join community leaders in requesting that our elected city officials listen to Austin residents and issue a [request for proposals]to ensure a fair, equal and transparent process.”
A Capella representative stated June 5 at a community meeting that the city told them the land was valued at $29.5 million for the use proposed. A representative for Whitfield and Chen also provided the city’s 2016 appraisal of the property that indicates the value is $29.5 million and that the highest and best use is for mixed-use development.