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Work on TX Soccer Stadium Progresses

Friday, November 20, 2020

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Although attendance restrictions for the approaching Major League Soccer season remain unclear amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Andy Loughnane, President of Austin FC, reports that construction of its new open-air stadium is 75% complete and on track for the 2021 spring season.

FC Austin is scheduled to host 17 homes games during its inaugural year; however, delays in the postseason could push back the start date.

About the Project

Back in March 2019, Investor Precourt Sports Ventures confirmed the firms that would lead the way for the professional soccer franchise Austin FC’s—a club backed by Anthony Precourt‘s Precourt Sports Ventures—new $240 million stadium.

The development team named includes Austin Commercial as the construction manager; Gensler as the lead architect; and CAA ICON as the project manager and representative of PSV. Haynes-Eaglin-Waters—a local MWBE consultant—was also hired to ensure minority and women-owned business participation.

The 100% privately financed open-air stadium and soccer park will serve as home to Major League Soccer's 27th team and is expected to hold 20,500 seats. However, according to Soccer Stadium Digest, the roof will be capable of covering all seats within the stadium.

The natural-grass, open-air stadium is designed to serve as both an entertainment and multi-purpose space for the public.

Along with the team, the announcement also confirmed the price tag, which had risen from the initial $200 million estimate. Team president Andy Loughnane said in an interview that a main item that drove up the price was an expansion to the roof, which will make the facility’s cover the second largest in terms of soccer venues behind Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls.

At the time, PSV said that it was working with Austin’s Office of Sustainability to achieve LEED Silver status and estimates that about 1,000 construction-related jobs would be created.

A few months later in June, project officials released new renderings of the stadium, revealing updated design concepts for the stadium’s interior, which includes a 3,400-fan Supporter Section in the south end, a 650-seat East Club, a 1,500-member West Club and a 380-person Field Club.

Club amenities vary but are slated to include options for exterior greenspace seating, direct access to field-level seating, adjacency to the locker room tunnels, all-inclusive food and beverage options and private rentals on non-matchdays.

An independent report from Brailsford and Dunlavey estimates that 934 full-time construction jobs will be created due to the project, creating a $103 million economic impact for the area.

Construction for the project was slated to begin in September, with an open date set for spring of 2021.

What’s Happening Now

With construction about 75% completed, some of the latest updates involving the stadium’s construction include seat installation and laying out the grass pitch, which was grown and imported from Arizona.

Despite setbacks stemmed from COVID-19, Loughnane said, "One thing that has remained incredibly consistent is a commitment to on-time construction here at the stadium.”

On that same note regarding the 2021 season, Loughnane continued, "The season has historically started in early March. As to exactly what that looks like in 2021, It's too early to speculate.

“It's a little out of our hands ... That being said, it is in the hands of Major League Soccer to make that determination. But what I can tell you is that our stadium will be ready [by] spring of 2021 and we will have a home opener."

Current state laws (as of Nov. 10), limit stadium capacity to at least 50%, however, local health leaders have advised reducing this capacity to 25%. Should the season be postponed, Loughnane told Community Impact Newspaper that the stadium would host smaller events.

"We know we're joining the league in 2021, and we know we'll play a full slate of home games in 2021. Irrespective of when the schedule begins, it's important to make sure that we're finished at the stadium, and then we're able to make sure that after it's finished, it's in a really good working condition," Loughnane said.

In additional efforts to prepare for ongoing restrictions and improve health safety measures, Loughnane explained that Austin FC has made a variety of design modifications, including the facility’s bathrooms. Now completely touchless, the bathrooms are just one way the franchise is committing to the safety of its future visitors.

While construction on the stadium is wrapping up, Loughnane also touched on how the club is making progress on naming rights or a sponsor for the facility, in addition to future transportation plans, and possibly, even the construction of affordable housing units on site.

In terms of transportation and parking, the stadium hopes to feature a public transportation aspect that would connect to the city’s multi-billion dollar transit plan, Project Connect, in addition to an 850-spot parking lot. Renderings of what the transit service might look like were released last month.



Tagged categories: Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Gensler Architects; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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