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Austin City Council Votes to Move Forward with Major League Soccer Stadium

The council’s vote on the stadium has created a lot of drama over the last 10 months

An artist’s rendering of a soccer stadium at McKalla Place in North Austin.

The Austin City Council voted to move ahead in negotiations with Major League Soccer and Precourt Sports Ventures to build a 20,000-seat stadium near the Domain.

The 7-4 decision came after about five hours of discussion during a special session Wednesday. Council members worked through several amendments related to parking, transportation, affordable housing and youth soccer programs. 

“I can’t wait until we are all wearing the same jersey,” Mayor Steve Adler said before the vote. In addition to Adler, Delia Garza, Pio Renteria, Greg Casar, Ann Kitchen, Jimmy Flannigan and Kathie Tovo voted yes. 

Under the deal, Precourt, which owns the Columbus Crew, would build the stadium on the property and then rent it back from the city.

Precourt announced last fall that it wanted to move the MLS team from Ohio to Austin, citing poor business conditions in Columbus. Precourt initially asked for a stadium site on parkland near Lady Bird Lake, but after pushback from the community and others, it settled on McKalla Place, a 24-acre site in North Austin.

The council’s vote on the stadium has created a lot of drama over the last 10 months.

Council Member Leslie Pool led a charge against the proposed location, bringing other issues like affordable housing and transportation into the debate. When the deal was set for a vote in July, she asked council to consider alternative proposals for developing the McKalla Place site. Just before the vote Thursday, she added a number of amendments to the terms city staff had negotiated, forcing a vote to be postponed until today.

Today’s vote is not the end of the discussion. The city must also decide if the deal will be handed over to staff for final approval or if council will get the final OK. Also unknown is when the stadium contract will be finalized and where the Crew will train and play during the next MLS season.

Austin is the largest U.S. metro region without a top-tier professional sports team.

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