SBD/Issue 94/Facilities & Venues

MLS Dynamo Consider Southwest Houston Site For Stadium

Dynamo Considering Southwest Houston
Site, Have Not Abandoned Downtown
The MLS Dynamo are "considering a pitch to build a soccer stadium on private land" in southwest Houston, according to Chris Moran of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Dynamo President & GM Oliver Luck yesterday said that the team has "not abandoned plans to build downtown on city-owned land east of U.S. 59," but he confirmed that he "has met several times with" officials from Houston-based developer Midway Cos., which owns 30 acres at the southwest Houston site. Luck said of Midway, "They have not yet presented a full-blown plan to us. It's an interesting location and certainly worth looking at." Moran notes the Dynamo and the city of Houston "have a deal in which the team would pay $60[M] in stadium construction costs" at the downtown site. But Midway Chair & CEO Brad Freels said the deal downtown "started stalling a little bit," and added Midway "started wondering if that stadium could make sense" at the company's property. Freels "envisions a 21,000-seat soccer and concert arena as part of a multi-use project" at the site. Houston Mayor Annise Parker said building a stadium at the southwest Houston site is an "excellent option that takes the city taxpayers largely or completely out of the loop." Parker added that the city "would consider contributing infrastructure work or tax abatements to the Midway development" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/28).

GROUNDBREAKING MOMENT: In San Jose, Elliott Almond
reports the MLS Earthquakes today will break ground on a training field at the proposed site of a new stadium, "the most tangible evidence yet that ownership is serious about building a pitch" across from Mineta San Jose Int'l Airport. The $1.2M grass training field "will give the team a permanent home" after it spent the past two seasons sharing practice facilities with Santa Clara Univ. and West Valley College (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/28).

DEAL BROKEN: In Vancouver, Ian Walker reports Delta, B.C., city politicians Monday "nixed" the USL Whitecaps' "plan for a national soccer training centre" in the city. The Whitecaps and Delta in May had held a press conference to "announce a tentative agreement for the construction of the [C$31M] facility, of which the B.C. Liberals had agreed to pay more than half." Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi: "It's disappointing that they chose to pursue their own plans for the site; we were quite prepared to give back to the community and that was part of our deal." Lenarduzzi confirmed that there are "other municipalities interested in hosting national training grounds, but refused to get into specifics" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/28). 

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