New Crew Owners Turn Focus To Building Stadium In Columbus
New Crew Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Dr. Peter Edwards will now "turn their attention to building a new stadium as the centerpiece of a larger development near the Arena District," according to a front-page piece by Rick Rouan of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Yesterday's formal introduction of the new owners "culminates a 15-month saga in which the franchise's move to Austin, Texas, at times appeared imminent." Dee Haslam said that the team "hopes to break ground on the stadium this summer" to meet a deadline of opening for the '21 season. Edwards said that the "'details are evolving' on whether the new owners will acquire the property to work out another structure" with Nationwide Realty Investors at the site. Initial designs for the 20,000-seat stadium call for a roof to "cover fans while leaving the pitch open to the elements," with 30 suites and loge boxes and about 1,900 club seats. The "overall plan is to cost" about $650M, including $150M to buy the team and $140M in "public money." The city of Columbus has pledged $50M for "infrastructure around the stadium," and Franklin County's contribution has a "present value" of $45M that will come over 30 years in annual increments of $2.5M. The state of Ohio will provide $15M, and the final $30M is "earmarked through a community authority that is to be established." The Crew's current venue, Mapfre Stadium, will be "repurposed into a public sports complex and practice facility for the team" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/10).
DOING IT RIGHT: In Columbus, Michael Arace notes with the Haslams and Edwards, MLS Commissioner Don Garber "now has one of the richest ownership groups in the league installed in Columbus." The new stadium will be "one of the best downtown stadium locations on the continent." The renovated Mapfre Stadium sports park will be "another new model for How To Do This Right." While the new ownership group was "brought together" by Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer, Garber "helped" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 1/10).