MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

Austin FC to break ground of stadium on Sept. 5

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The Austin FC stadium continues to take shape.

At a ‘State of the Stadium' event on Wednesday, Two Oak Ventures President Dave Greeley, Austin FC President Andy Loughnane and other officials announced the groundbreaking ceremony for the future home of the MLS franchise will take place on Sept. 5.

"It's representative of progress," Loughnane said. "Groundbreaking will help amplify that this is moving forward, that shovels are in the ground and we'll be open for business bought 18 months thereafter. This helps everybody else understand where we are in terms of our timetables."

MLS Commissioner Don Garber will be on hand as will CEO Anthony Precourt and Austin Mayor Steve Adler. The same group was on hand on Jan. 15 to officially announce that the team would be joining MLS.

The estimated construction time is 18 months with a targeted opening time in the spring of 2021.

The presentation said the entire investment - which includes the team, the venue at McKalla Place and a training facility - is nearly $500 million. The stadium itself is estimated at $242 million. 

Greeley reiterated that the project is completely privately funded and comes at no cost to the City. The City of Austin will own the stadium and the land surrounding it, and Austin FC will lease it from them. 

The rendering released has 835 on-site parking spots on game days. Of those, 350 are not permanent spots located in the open space on the north side of the stadium. 

Jonathan Emmett, Design Director/Sports Facilities Leader at Gensler, the architecture firm working on the project, was also the lead on LAFC's Banc of California Stadium, which opened in 2018. 

He said this project is inspired by Austin, with indoor and outdoor lifestyle features, working local materials into the landscape and integrating the city's unique food and beverage culture into the design. 

"This project is unique," Emmett said. "As the league has matured, stadium design has turned a corner and there a lot of attributes in these buildings that are learning lessons from that are brought to this venue.

"One of the key factors that make this different is its relationship to the site. Creating a stadium within a park, as opposed to the being a standalone venue for MLS games, is a unique situation that we're trying to leverage to make this feel uniquely Austin."

Of the 24 acres of the site, more than eight acres will be open space with both game day and non-game day uses. 

Emmett said they have worked the ability to add affordable housing to the site, and Greeley added they have been in constant contact with Walter Moreau of Foundation Communities. The 4ATX Foundation donated $500,000 to the nonprofit group in April. 

"We continue to meet with (Foundation Communities), Greeley said. "Jonathan has met with their designers and CAA ICON has met with their project people. We've compared notes and kept them in the loop every step of the way."

Austin FC is committing more than $3.5 million to CapMetro, according to the presentation. And Armbrust & Brown attorney Richard Suttle said they are working with CapMetro about a potential rail station at the site. 

Greeley said there are a variety of other options for fans to get to the stadium and that there are 10,000 parking spots within a 20-minute walk. 

"We are in knee-deep conversations with a lot of property owners and business in the area," Greeley said. "Austin has a profound culture, and part of what makes that so robust is the shuttle aspect. It's a robust and evolving process, but it's exciting." 

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