City is one step closer to soccer stadium deal

The city of Louisville agreed to pay $30 million to pay for the land for the proposed Louisville City FC soccer stadium

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Thousands of fans looking for a permanent home.

“It's essential that we ensure the long-term success and viability of this team to make sure we can continue that,” Thomas Farmer, a fan said.

Louisville City Football Club fans, players and supporters filled Metro Hall hoping to get one step closer to building their own stadium.

“We think that the payback for the city is significant.  This is not an expense, this is an investment,” Mike Mountjoy, an investor said.

RELATED: Stadium needed for long-term success of soccer in Louisville

In order to keep the team in Louisville, league rules require them to have their own stadium.  Investors will pull out their own checkbooks to build the stadium at the Butchertown site but they're asking for the city to fork over $30 million to buy and prepare the land. 

In a 4-1 vote, the budget committee agreed to do just that. The proposed stadium is in Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith's district.

“I think the greatest risk for the city is for us not to do this,” Councilwoman Barbara Sexton-Smith, District 4, said.

But here's the deal--the investors will pay back nearly $15 million to the city over 20 years. 

The investors, depending on a vote from the city, plan to apply for a state TIF or tax increment financing.  So a percentage of the sales tax from businesses in that district would go back to the investors to pay off their debt to the city.

“I think what we have is something that is workable for us as the ownership group and certainly workable for the city and certainly valuable for both and for the future of Louisville,” Mountjoy said.

That $30 million promise from the city will now go to a full council vote.  Another committee will meet Thursday to vote on the TIF portion of this deal. Both parts need to pass to reach the goal.

It's step closer to building a new home for Louisville City FC.

RELATED: Fans support Butchertown location for soccer stadium

There is one group, the Pegasus Institute, that says this is a bad deal. Their major hang up – why create more debt for the city at this point when we have other things to pay for?

It is important to note that this deal is much different from the city's deal with Slugger Field and the Yum! Center. 

The city will have no ownership of the actual stadium. 

The $30 million is to purchase the land. But the city will benefit from the revenue that come out of the restaurants, hotels and office space that will be created next to the stadium as part of this plan.  

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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