City reports on possible uses for McKalla site; Precourt formally proposes MLS stadium
The City of Austin is seeing dollar signs in a just-released report on the pros and cons of building a new soccer stadium in North Austin. An outside report commissioned by the city finds construction could generate 934 jobs in the city with an economic impact of $54 million. And once it's up and running, the stadium could create 342 jobs with an economic impact of more than $25 million.
Supporters of bringing Major League Soccer to Austin are promising to build a $200 million stadium. And that's private money, not tax dollars.
When proponents of the soccer stadium met with the public last month they stressed how they're footing the bill for the project. Attorney Richard Suttle said, "The city's not on the hook for it. Taxpayers aren't on the hook for the stadium."
But while the city is not on the hook for the stadium, a new city report reveals there are $30 million in upgrades for the site the city may have to share in. That would include $2.3 million for water and wastewater improvements, $13 million for streets and sidewalks and $13 million to build a new MetroRail station.
Austin would not be alone in having to pitch in for a private sports facility. For the Houston Dynamos, the city and county pledged $20 million toward infrastructure improvements. Dallas is somewhat different. The suburb of Frisco was so excited they built the stadium which they rent to the Dallas Football Club. "Soccer at some point will be the most popular sport in the United States," says Jeff Cheney, the mayor of Frisco. But now the club is tapping the city, two economic development agencies and the local school district to front the costs of stadium improvements.
The plan to bring pro soccer to Austin comes before the Austin City Council later this month. If approved, the club says it could begin playing temporarily somewhere else beginning in March while they begin construction of their new stadium.