On Wednesday, a group of four Austin, Texas City Council members put out a press release explaining their support for a resolution to be discussed during a June 28, 2018 meeting that would open the McKalla Place site for bid.
Austin City Councilmembers Pool, Alter, Troxclair and Houston issue press release on the June 28 McKalla Place RFP item they've co-sponsored. Pool: “It makes sense that we would want to know what our options are." #CrewSC #MLS2ATX #SaveTheCrew pic.twitter.com/VN5MReHvPk— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonCD) June 20, 2018
Led by Council Member Leslie Pool, who represents the district in which McKalla Place is located, this release comes on the heels of the public posting of the agenda for the June 28, 2018 City Council meeting that includes two resolutions regaridng McKalla Place: Resolution 60 would open the site for bid and Resolution 64 would direct the Austin City Manager to enter into negotiations with Precourt Sports Ventures — the investor/operators of Columbus Crew SC led by Anthony Precourt — regarding a soccer stadium at McKalla Place.
While Council Member Pool was quick to point out that these resolutions would work in concert with each other, it’s hard for fans of Crew SC not to see Pool’s request for bids as opposition to the PSV stadium plan in Austin. In light of the news that at least one group of bidders had made an unsolicited offer to purchase the land for more than $20 million, it is no surprise that the City of Austin would want to determine how much value they can get for the undeveloped slice of land.
PSV quickly went on the defensive after this press release, with PSV lobbyist Richard Suttle claiming that opening McKalla Place up for bids would all but sink Austin’s chances of acquiring Crew SC.
Suttle then dropped a bit of information that might not be so surprising to anyone who saw Taylor Twellman’s recent comments regarding the potential relocation of the Black & Gold to Sacramento instead of Austin. From Chris Bils’s article in the Austin Statesman:
There’s 10 other cities that would like to have a soccer team. They’re willing to put forward a lot of incentives to get one. If we have to wait for months to see if McKalla is going to work or not, then I think we have no other option but to look to other cities. The decision may not be made by Precourt. He wants to be in Austin. The decision may be made for him by the league.
For many, this is confirmation of the worst-held fears, that Precourt wanted out of Columbus just as much as he wanted to move to Austin. How this threat to move to another city would function in light of the rumored “Austin Clause” and the lawsuit still working its way through Ohio’s courts is yet to be determined, but it’s clear that there is a long way to go before the fate of Crew SC in Columbus is determined.