Downtown Austin park emerges as possible soccer stadium location
A Major League Soccer team owner is still eyeing Austin for their team's new home. Thursday they revealed a first look at potential downtown stadium sketches. The site and sketches are only preliminary suggestions from Precourt Sports Ventures -- the company that says they will bring a team to Austin if they can find the right place to put the stadium.
Thursday, Butler Shores at Town Lake Metro Park emerged as the company's top spot for the stadium. Nestled behind Zach Scott Theatre, the site checks all of the boxes for PSV -- a major one being its downtown location. Currently the parkland is dominated by baseball fields, walking trails and parking spots.
"We'll be working hard to make sure we're not intrusive on the neighborhoods or surrounding businesses," says Richard Suttle, a lawyer with Armbrust & Brown, representing Precourt Sports Ventures.
Preliminary sketches show what the stadium could look like -- complete with skyline views. Suttle says building the stadium sunken into the ground would help it fit into the area.
"Go down a few feet and build a bowl for seating, and then above ground level you only have to come up a couple stories," Suttle explains.
Current estimates have the stadium topping out at 69 feet. That's two feet shorter than Zach Scott Theatre's highest point and about 16 feet shorter than the adjacent Barton Place Condos. The footprint of the stadium would compare approximately to Austin ISD's House Park near Lamar and Enfield Road.
One thing the stadium wouldn't bring is parking for fans.
"Our thought is, we don't want to build a facility were you're trying to encourage 20,000 people to get to a place by car," Suttle says.
The lack of parking in itself is a concern for some longtime Austin residents like Jim Middleton. He uses the current parking lot frequently to visit restaurants in the area.
"There's not an easy way to get here. We need the parking," says Middleton. Middleton has called Austin home for close to 40 years. He says he loves it here but feels growth is getting out of control.
"It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It's still a great city, but it's sort of reached a critical mass these last few years," Middleton explains.
The City of Austin is still looking at other options for what public land could be used for a privately funded soccer stadium. We expect to learn which spots top their list in a city council meeting next week.