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Volume 26 No. 229
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FC Cincy's Final West End Stadium Design Includes Grand Staircase

FC Cincinnati unveiled the final design of its West End Stadium, which will include a Grand Staircase rising 30 feet from Central Parkway, with "stairs 150 feet wide, to serve as a 'regal entrance' into the stadium," according to Steve Watkins of the CINCINNATI BUSINESS COURIER. The stadium also has LED lighting on 513 "vertical fins that form a wavelike external structure surrounding the stadium." This allows "unique motion sequences to be shown on the east-facing facade." A 360-degree "canopy roof" will cover all of the stadium's seats. A total of 59 suites, "including two-party suites and three field-level suites" are the "most in MLS for a soccer-specific venue." The stadium has a total of 4,500 premium club seats. The total capacity will be 26,000-26,500, "smaller than the 32,350 capacity" at Univ. of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium, where the club currently plays. FC Cincinnati Managing Owner & CEO Carl Lindner III said that the project "remains on track for the club to open" the '21 season at the new venue. Turner Construction Business Development Manager Jessica Fitzwilson said that foundation work at the site "started this week, steel will start being installed in November and the facility will be topped out" in summer '20. The stadium will not have a "beer garden," as President & GM Jeff Berding had suggested in April. However, the team is "working with commercial real estate developers to decide it a beer hall makes sense in the mixed-use developments surrounding the stadium" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/16).

FOR THE FANS: Team officials said that a "premium was placed on fan experience" with the stadium designs, with an "expanded Bailey section for supporters that clock in at 3,100 spaces, more club seating and wider concourses than in Nippert Stadium." In Cincinnati, Coolidge & Brennan in a front-page piece report the stadium's "final design is different than previous renderings, which featured a special orange glow that emanated from a skin wrapped around the structure." The new lighting is "softer, with a graceful motion that can depict the team's name and logo." The lighting feature is "considered the show stopper," and is made possible by a "series of vertical elements, or fins, that meet in a horizontal movement" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/17). Pro Soccer USA's D.J. Switzer tweeted the new renderings are "vastly improved," with a "far more original design, and one that won't feel so out of place in the neighborhood." Supporters group The Pride: "We couldn’t be more thankful that the club has chosen to include voices from the supporters every step of the way on this process" (TWITTER.com, 7/16). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tess Riski notes FC Cincinnati will join LAFC, Minnesota United and Orlando City in "providing a standing section." In Cincinnati, it is known as the Bailey, where fans will "rally behind the goal to intimidate the opposing team or to support the home squad." FC Cincinnati VP/Communications Lizz Summers said that the team will "make safety a priority" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/17). 

KEEP IT DOWN: In Cincinnati, Chris Wetterich noted officials with the "resident companies of Music Hall were unsure" about the new stadium design and whether it would "allay concerns that crowd noise from the new West End venue will filter into the iconic concert hall." The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ballet, Opera and May Festival, as well as the Music Hall Revitalization and Cincinnati Arts Association, said that they "plan to evaluate the new renderings" with consultancy group Akustiks. It still "remains unclear whether Music Hall will need to be modified to block noise or whether the new stadium designed effectively dealt with any intrusion issues." Architect Jonathan Mallie, who led the stadium design, said that "efforts were made to deal with sound generated by fans" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/16).