Columbus Crew ownership group Precourt Sports Ventures were hoping to have the framework in place to build a stadium in Austin by Thursday night. Instead, they’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
The Austin City Council was set to vote on a term sheet agreed on by Austin city administrators and PSV but after two hours of public comments and 20 amendments proposed to the agreement, the council eventually tabled the discussion to Wednesday morning. The amendments led to harsh words from Austin mayor Steve Adler, who called them “poison pills,” in effect delaying or killing the deal by bureaucracy.
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Adler later said that the term sheet will be voted on by the city council on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. local time).
The term sheet, recently revised by PSV and agreed to between the city and PSV, calls for the building of a soccer-specific stadium at McKalla Place, located 10 miles north of downtown Austin. The deal calls for the team to finance the construction of the stadium at the site and then for the city to lease the land to PSV for $1 per year and then for the team to pay $550,000 per year in rent from the sixth year and on. In addition, a non-relocation clause has ironically been added.
However, amendments to the term sheet include raising yearly payments to nearly $1 million per season, that PSV should pay the full cost of having a transit station site next to the stadium (instead of splitting the costs with the city) and another final vote on the stadium.
One of the most interesting parts of Thursday evening’s council meeting was the revelation that PSV has missed a pair of MLS-imposed deadlines to complete a stadium deal, first in early July and then August 10. We’ll see if MLS will continue to move the goalposts to allow PSV to continue to move the Crew.
Council members also discussed on Thursday the impact of the ongoing lawsuit against PSV by the city of Columbus and state of Ohio, which could stall or delay the Crew’s departure. Things could change on Wednesday but as of this point, it looks like the Crew will be in Columbus for the 2019 season.