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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)

 

Precourt Sports Ventures showed Tuesday what a stadium for Crew SC could look like if the team moves to Austin, Texas, next season.

The group, which operates the Crew, posted a rendering to its website MLS2ATX for a 20,000-seat stadium on a 24-acre tract of city-owned land called McKalla Place in north Austin.

The one-page map makes note of room for 1,000 parking spaces spread across three locations as well as three roadway access points. The site also includes some open space, a detention and filtration pond, a crosswalk and an optional rail station.

City officials are conducting a study of McKalla Place with a report due to city council by June 1. PSV officials have said they would like a stadium deal in place by the end of June, before council adjourns for more than a month.

A spokesperson for CapMetro, Austin's transportation authority, confirmed Tuesday that PSV has met with CapMetro officials but did not have further details.

Dan Vaillant, senior vice president for CAA Icon, which PSV has hired for consultation during its relocation efforts, said in a statement to Austin media that a "comprehensive traffic impact analysis" will be prepared once the site is approved.

"In advance of that, Precourt Sports Ventures has hired a team of experienced stadium consultants to analyze the site at a conceptual level and they are all very confident that issues associated with traffic and parking will be minimal and can be appropriately mitigated," the statement read. "There are in excess of 10,000 parking spaces distributed around the site within a 15- to 20-minute walk."

Parking varies by Major League Soccer stadium. Some venues, such as Mapfre Stadium, Philadelphia's Talen Energy Stadium and Chicago's Toyota Park, have nearly all parking on site. Fans typically park farther from venues with limited on-site parking such as Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, and Orlando City Stadium and walk to games.

PSV has expressed a preference for a stadium with more of neighborhood feel and within walking distance to bars and restaurants, especially compared with Mapfre Stadium, which sits on the state fairgrounds surrounded by parking lots. To consider staying in Columbus, PSV has requested a Downtown stadium, perhaps in the Arena District around existing development.

Vaillant said PSV has developed a plan in Austin to account for ride sharing and a shuttle system to "designated parking areas," which could, he said, "disperse traffic around the area making for less congestion."

A spokesperson for The Domain, a nearby shopping and retail center with hundreds of parking spaces, could not be reached for comment.

Precourt Sports Ventures President Dave Greeley told the Austin American-Statesman last week that he wants the stadium to have the feel of a "traditional English soccer grounds."

"We intend to have trails, a lot of trees and green space, an area people can use," Greeley said.

Greeley also told the American-Statesman a canopy would cover the stadium's seating areas, a concept that "is very expensive, but we need it with the heat down here."

The city over the last two weeks hosted a series of community meetings with presentations from Austin and PSV officials.

aerickson@dispatch.com

@AEricksonCD

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