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Potential North Austin soccer stadium deal would have PSV operate tax free, pay rent

Austin City Council sat down Wednesday to talk about their terms for a professional soccer team at McKalla Place with the group that wants to bring them here. They also heard public comment on the terms during that meeting Wednesday morning. (Stadium rendering courtesy: Precourt Sports Ventures)

Austin City Council sat down Wednesday to talk about their terms for a professional soccer team at McKalla Place with the group that wants to bring them here. They also heard public comment on the terms during that meeting Wednesday morning.

The city's new terms, released Friday, would allow Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV) to operate tax free since they would be on city land, but they would be required to pay rent after five years, totaling about $8.25 million over the course of 20 years.

Council still had questions about the terms regarding traffic and affordable housing options. The city's proposal calls for setting aside 130 affordable housing units on one acre of the 24-acre property, and it doesn't lay out a clear plan for traffic and parking.

"It's good to mention these things, but it doesn't go far enough," Council Member Ann Kitchen said. "They're not definitive and they're not a requirement, and they also don't address the cost."

Some community members say the proposed terms for the stadium isn't a fair deal for tax-payers.

A lot of the public comment had to do with these issues, as well.

"I would have no problem with the team if they came here, bought their own land, and built their own stadium like every other business, but when you think you should have that much public money, you have different obligation," said tax expert and former Travis County Auditor Susan Spataro.

Others say the long-term benefits of having an MLS team in Austin would outweigh a soccer team's tax savings.

"I too, believe that there is room for improvement regarding public transportation issues in particular, but I don't think it's fair to say that something like this opportunity should go forward just because there's room for improvement," said Ian Zurzolo.

City council plans to take up more discussion on the terms next week at its Aug. 7 and Aug. 9 meetings. Council members also plan to hear from other developers with non-soccer plans for McKalla Place during their meeting next Thursday.

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