AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city of Austin has released its list of city-owned sites that could possibly house a brand new Major League Soccer stadium.
Last month, the Austin City Council tasked the city to identify areas such as “underutilized parkland” that could be used either as a stadium or practice field. The city lists five park spaces that could be used: Guerrero Metro Park (both as a stadium and practice field), Walnut Creek Sports Complex (practice field), Butler Shores at Town Lake Metro Park/Toomey Fields (stadium), Bolm Road District Park (practice field) and the Travis County Expo Center (stadium and practice).
Last week, the owners of Columbus Crew released a mock-up of what a new MLS stadium could look like at the Butler Shores location. The owners say the urban locale along Lady Bird Lake is a “virtually perfect” location.
The city also proposed two non-parkland spaces that could also be transformed into stadiums: the vacant Home Depot lot at Interstate 35 and St. Johns Avenue and a lot at 10414 McKalla Place, which is located in the southeast corner of Burnet Road and West Braker Lane. The city purchased the vacant Home Depot lot for $6.9 million several years ago but has never solidified any plans for it.
The Burger Center, which belongs to the Austin Independent School District, is listed as a possible practice field.
While Guerrero Metro Park and the I-35/St. Johns locations aren’t downtown, they’re close enough to possibly be considered “urban core” — which is what Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt was hoping for.
“For us, the key is going to be finding the right stadium location in the urban fabric of Austin, so that’s what we’re going to start work on in the coming months,” said Precourt in an October interview with KXAN’s Roger Wallace.
A recently-released survey commissioned by Precourt Sports Ventures, the company behind Columbus Crew, shows three out of four Austinites approve of bringing a MLS club to town, out of 400 people polled.
“We selected Opinion Analysts to handle the poll because we knew they would give us data we needed to hear, not just what we wanted to hear to continue this community dialogue,” Dave Greeley, president of Precourt Sports Ventures, said. “What’s exciting is to have affirmation from this independent polling service that Austin would truly value having a Major League Soccer team here.”
Barring Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores, more than 57 percent of respondents said they would support a stadium that is built on a city-owned park space with no public financing.
The city says they will release a more comprehensive report in January.