AUSTIN, Texas – City Council has finally approved a Major League Soccer stadium in north Austin after months of deliberations.
City Council members huddled up for another special session to make the final call on a soccer team coming to Austin on Wednesday. They have approved McKalla Place as the home of MLS near The Domain.
People on both sides of the argument hoped for a final decision in last week's meeting, but council members asked for more time to review Precourt Sports Ventures' deal.
Precourt is the force behind building the stadium and the owner of the Columbus Crew, the franchise that will move to Austin after the council’s votes in favor of the stadium.
Austin City Council member Leslie Pool is criticizing the city's process after she was in Columbus, Ohio, ahead of the vote. She is accusing the team's operator, Precourt Sports Ventures, of pitting city against city.
Pool said the deal right now is tilted to benefit Precourt through special treatment. She has been skeptical of the proposal all along.
Last June, in a meeting that ran into the early morning hours, city council voted to begin negotiations with Precourt on the stadium while also opening up the bid to other developers looking to build on the same property.
While some council members, including the Mayor, argued the MLS deal would benefit the city, some expressed concern that the deal only goes in favor of Precourt.
Now the question is when the team will come to the city and when construction for the stadium will begin.
Precourt Sports Ventrue released the following statement:
"Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) is extremely pleased that Austin City Council has voted to authorize negotiations and execution of agreements with PSV for a privately funded Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium and park at McKalla Place.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Austin City Council for passing today’s momentous resolutions. We thank council for acknowledging the groundswell of support to help bring MLS to Austin.
We have been incredibly honored to work alongside the growing community of volunteers, families, and supporters who have proudly persevered to make this historic vote possible. Your efforts have helped make a difference at each step of the pursuit and we wish to thank you very much for your support.
We also wish to extend our special thanks to Mayor Adler, Mayor Pro Tem Tovo and all council members for their ongoing leadership and vision, and to all city staff who have worked diligently with Council to prepare for the passage of today’s important resolutions.”