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Austin City Council discusses multiple resolutions for McKalla Place

What was discussed in the lead up to Austin’s big meeting on Thursday?

MLS: Columbus Crew SC Fan Rally Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Austin City Council discussed multiple resolutions regarding Precourt Sports Ventures’ plan to move Columbus Crew SC to its city and put a stadium on the McKalla Place land during Tuesday’s work session. Three resolutions regarding the McKalla Place property will be up for a vote during Thursday’s Austin City Council meeting. Resolution 60 would open up the McKalla Place site to an open bidding process (with bids due on August 9, 2018), resolution 130 (formerly resolution 64) would direct the Austin City Manager to enter into negotiations with PSV regarding their stadium proposal and resolution 117 (introduced yesterday) would authorize the City of Austin to enter into a $200,000 contract with a law firm regarding the building of a soccer stadium on the McKalla Place site.

Just before the start of today’s work session, PSV introduced an updated proposal for an Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place.

The updated plan includes 130 units of affordable housing and a parking garage, likely in an attempt to appease neighborhood activists who demand affordable housing and to counter the proposed purchase of McKalla Place for development by Marcus Whitfield and John Chen. PSV’s new proposal adds 300 parking spaces to their previous plan, upping the total parking on the site to 1,300 spaces. However, at least some of those spaces would be utilized by tenants of the newly proposed housing unit and still fall far short of being able to service a 20,000 seat stadium.

Today’s work session was not a battle between those wanting a stadium at McKalla Place and those wanting an affordable housing proposal, but it dead shed light on the issues raised with the competing proposals. Council Member Leslie Pool, who represents the district in which McKalla Place is located, sponsored the resolution to open the site up for bidding and believes that both resolutions 60 and 130 can work together if passed. Pool clarified that resolution 60 does not call set forth a full bidding process for the land but would instead direct the City Manager to solicit plans for the McKalla Place stadium for discussion in August.

Austin’s economic development department was less certain that these two resolutions could work in tandem and expressed concern that it would be difficult to enter into negotiations with PSV while actively soliciting other plans for the site.

Much of the discussion focused on the need to move quickly, as pushed by PSV, and questioned whether a month-long bidding period would even be feasible for outside groups. Additional discussion focused on the need to review PSV’s financials, should resolution 130 pass, and the need for strong language that would protect Austin if PSV gets another itch to move the team.

The current vote totals for the proposals are unclear but it appears that resolution 130 has the necessary support to pass. Both resolutions will be called for a vote together, so Crew SC fans will not have to wait for answers once the first resolution is voted on.

Check back on Thursday and Friday for our analysis on the Austin City Council meeting.