It looks like the soccer stadium vote at the final Austin city council meeting of the session on June 28 will come down to whether to open negotiations exclusively with Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt’s group or to put the McKalla Place land up for open bid:
Item 64 on the agenda is to approve a resolution that would direct the city manager to begin negotiating with Precourt Sports Ventures for a Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place in North Austin.
Item 60 is for a resolution that would direct the city manager to solicit development plans, including those for mixed-use developments, for McKalla Place.
The soccer-only plan is backed by Mayor Steve Adler and councilmembers Kathie Tovo, Sabino “Pio” Renteria, and Delia Garza; the open-bid plan is backed by councilmembers Leslie Pool, Alison Alter, Ora Houston, and Ellen Troxclair. That leaves three swing votes: Greg Casar, Ann Kitchen, and Jimmy Flannigan.
If you’re trying to handicap those swing votes, here’s their record so far on the Crew stadium debate:
- Casar has said he’s in favor of the Crew moving to Austin, but has asked of the McKalla site, “if we put a stadium there, what are we giving up?”
- Kitchen previously introduced a bill to bar city parkland (like McKalla Place*) from being used for a soccer stadium, but ultimately withdrew it.
- Flannigan has said that he’s in favor of the McKalla site, “if there is an appropriate agreement and contract.”
So if we count Kitchen as leaning against the soccer-only deal, and Flannigan as leaning for, it looks like we could be headed for a very, very busy week of lobbying calls to Greg Casar. He might want to put in a call to Miami to talk to Michelle Spence-Jones for tips on haggling.
*CORRECTION: McKalla Place is indeed city-owned, but Kitchen was reportedly (see comments) opposed only to using city owned parkland for a stadium, not any city-owned land. So if Kitchen is indeed okay with the MLS-only plan, then maybe Casar’s phone won’t be ringing quite so much off the hook this week.