City, Austin FC Break Ground on New Soccer Stadium
Construction of the 21,000-seat stadium has kicked off for Austin’s first major league sports team
Ground was officially broken at McKalla Place near the Domain in Northwest Austin Monday, Sept. 9, for the new "soccer park" – anchored by a 21,000-seat stadium – that will be home to Austin FC, yet another major milestone in the origin story of Austin's first major league sports team. The ceremony kicked off phase one of construction at the long-vacant city-owned property near the intersection of Burnet Road and Braker Lane, as outlined in the stadium deal between the city and the club finalized in December 2018. Assuming construction stays on schedule and the remaining portions of the site plan are approved by the city – and aren't in any way upset by the outcome of the largely moot but still-happening-anyway Proposition A referendum on November's ballot, originally intended to thwart the stadium deal – the $242 million stadium for Major League Soccer's 27th franchise is set for completion by April 2021.
Mayor Steve Adler and eight members of the City Council (everyone except stadium deal foes Leslie Pool, in whose District 7 the site is located, and Alison Alter) joined Austin FC impresario Anthony Precourt and – of course – Matthew McConaughey at the Monday groundbreaking to commemorate the occasion. Adler highlighted the nascent club's ability to unite our city – something we'll surely need as Austin gears up for another round of painful land-use debates and School Changes conversations (see "'School Changes' Scenarios Place Equity Front and Center," Sept. 13). "We still are a community that is segregated more than we should be," Adler told the crowd. "This team ... has the opportunity to really bring this community together in ways that just don't happen frequently enough."
Now, if only Precourt, McConaughey, and the rest of the Austin FC/Two Oak Ventures ownership group would provide more detail on how we can actually get together at McKalla Place once the side takes the pitch, that would be awesome. The site's vague parking and transportation plans will remain fuzzy until a city-required traffic impact analysis is concluded – but the deadline for that isn't until a year or so from now.