Columbus Crew SC has its new home. Or at least the land the team’s new downtown stadium will reside.
According to Bill Bush of The Columbus Dispatch, the Crew’s ownership group paid $25.71 million to Nationwide Realty Investors for the approximately 21-acre segment of land just west of Huntington Park and Nationwide Arena in Columbus’ Arena District.
There was no mortgage listed in the all-cash transaction. The price works out to $1.23 million per acre, and the auditor’s office listed that amount as a “valid sale,” meaning it was an “arm’s-length,” market transaction that can be used to help determine the value of surrounding parcels.
A contract between the city, team and Franklin County states that the Crew can reimburse itself for the NRI purchase using the city’s $38 million cash contribution to the project.
A sliver of land, .044 acres, was subdivided off of the main parcel and retained by Nationwide, said Kevin Kidder, spokesman for the auditor’s office.
The rest of the land needed for the stadium development is owned by the city. That 7.55 acres, part of the long-discussed “Confluence Village” site, is to be swapped for some of land just purchased from NRI in a “no cash” deal.
On Oct. 10, the Crew and Nationwide Realty Investors released a joint statement that the two parties had come to terms on a deal that would see all contingencies waived for the land and a final purchase would occur by the end of the month. Just hours later, the Black & Gold held the team’s groundbreaking event at the new stadium site, attended by more 4,000 supporters.
The promise of a new stadium came when an ownership group of Dee and Jimmy Haslam, owners of the Cleveland Browns, and former team doctor Pete Edwards purchased the investor-operation rights to the team from Major League Soccer in January. This came after the previous investor-operator, Anthony Precourt, attempted to move the Crew to Austin, Texas after failing to get a downtown stadium.
According to The Columbus Dispatch article, the Crew will build a new mixed-use residential-commercial development on the land and the city will use its portion for new roads and sidewalks surrounding the newly built stadium, as well as a public plaza and a new $25 million parking garage.
Bush also reported that negotiations remain ongoing for the transfer of the 23-acre area of land on the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair grounds, on which currently sits MAPFRE Stadium and its parking lots. The Crew ownership group plans to convert the team’s current home into a new training facility with office space and create public sports fields and an indoor recreation facility.
With the purchase of the land finished, the Crew completed the next stadium in having the new downtown stadium open in July of 2021.