AUSTIN, Texas - Austin attorney Richard Suttle is representing Precourt Sports Ventures in the effort to bring the Major League Soccer club "Columbus Crew" to our neck of the woods.
He said the benefits to the community are pretty big.
"There have been numbers kicked around from $300 to $400 million over 25 years and again those are just the direct benefits," Suttle said.
The major hold-up: finding that sweet spot for a stadium.
City Council provided a list of optional locations including some parkland. But Austinites love their parks. The team struck Butler Shores from the list after a public outcry. And last week the Parks board recommended taking Roy G. Guerrero off the list too. At last Thursday's council meeting, parkland advocates implored council to follow suit and protect Guerrero.
"It's got to be in a vibrant area where there's a lot of things to do and eat and have entertainment options in addition to soccer. It's got to have good transportation options and it's got to have a cool factor," Suttle said.
The "McKalla Place" location is city-owned but it's not parkland and it's a focal-point for Precourt Sports Ventures right now.
"McKalla Place is getting an extra focus because it's really looking like a good site. It is in the Domain area, it's close to rail, it's got good roads next to it," Suttle said.
Suttle said the property used to be an industrial site.
"One of the things we'll have to look at, it's been through some environmental cleanups. One of our things that we'll be studying is to the extent that it's been cleaned up and whether it will be suitable for a soccer park," Suttle said.
But the Columbus Crew isn't going to the Domain or anywhere in Austin if the Ohio Attorney General gets his way.
This week Ohio AG Mike DeWine, along with the City of Columbus, filed a lawsuit against Precourt Sports Ventures and MLS, citing a mid-1990's statute that prohibits team owners who use tax-supported facilities and accept state financial assistance from moving their team without giving at least 6 months’ notice and giving someone in the area a chance to buy the team.
The suit alleges the Columbus Crew has accepted millions of taxpayer dollars for parking facility improvements and more.
Precourt Sports Ventures said they are still reviewing the litigation
"Somebody wants to file a lawsuit...I'm not worried about it, it does not affect what we're doing on our studies on sites in Austin, Texas," Suttle said.
Suttle said they're still reviewing the possible stadium spots and the ball is in Precourt's "court" if you will as far as getting back with council about a preferred site for a stadium.