Austin City Council set to make important Major League Soccer decisions Thursday

Austin is currently experiencing the symptoms of “World Cup fever.”

FOX 7 ran into Seth Thomas at Native Hostel Wednesday morning.  He recently moved from Austin to Seattle and now he's visiting home going bar to bar watching the games. 

"Supposed to be an MLS team I hear maybe coming to Austin.  So I'm holding out that that's going to happen because it would be awesome to come visit for games," Thomas said.

Thomas may not have to hold out much longer for Austin's first major league sports franchise.  

On Thursday the Austin City Council is discussing a group of items related to Precourt Sports Ventures' proposal to bring the Columbus Crew here and build a stadium on city-owned land near the Domain.

Traci Babetski with the fan group MLS in Austin will be watching that meeting closely. "Nervous, anxious, excited.  All of the crazy feelings that go through your body when you want something so badly," Babetski said.

Read New rendering for McKalla Place includes affordable housing

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo's item directs the City Manager to start negotiating with the team owners.

"It's not a final vote by any means, it would require our city staff, the City Manager to negotiate potential contract elements and to bring that back to council for consideration and action," Tovo said.

McKalla Place is in Council Member Leslie Pool's District 7.  

Pool's item would direct the City Manager to solicit any other ideas out there for developing McKalla Place like mixed-use, parkland, affordable housing. She says it's not a full-on "request for proposal" process so it will follow the same timeline as Tovo's item and won't delay discussions.

"If the one party feels like they have a clear field and that we are the only people there negotiating, I think that is potentially a weaker position that if we had other options on the table against which they may compete," Pool said during Tuesday's work session.  

Read If Austin gets MLS, could 2026 World Cup bring soccer activity here?

The question is -- can both Tovo's item and Pool's item co-exist?  

Pool says they complement each other. But others aren't so sure.

"If it passes, I'm sorry to say it might delay or even prevent MLS from coming to Austin," Babetski said.  

During Tuesday's work session, Mayor Steve Adler showed support for Tovo's item. "We did the library on an incredibly valuable tract but I don't remember an analysis done about what we would be able to do if we put that to a mixed-use development which would have been extraordinary value.  We didn't do that because a library was a really important thing for us to have," Adler said.

Another important thing for Austin to have in council's view is affordable housing. 

This week, Precourt Sports Ventures released a sketch of what the stadium site would look like with some on-site affordable housing.

"That's exciting because it's the best of both worlds," Babetski said.

"I think that could be a very good mix of having some housing there on the site.  As well though I think it's important that proposal includes some financial support for affordable housing on other tracts as well," Tovo said.