Austin FC stadium broke ground in September 2019 and construction is in full swing.
The stadium is located near the corner of Burner Road and Braker Lane, across from the JJ Pickle Research Campus. The official address is 10414 McKalla Place, Austin, TX 78758.
Three months into the project, you could see a bowl formed for the pitch as well as heavy pillars planted for the surrounding seating stands.
Six months into construction, you can see the stands being built and the beginning of a canopy on the East side. 100% of the seats in the stadium will eventually be covered by the canopy.
Ten months into construction, the skeleton of the canopy sits above the West and East sides of the stadium. A canopy will also be installed over the North and South ends. The club indicated that once the canopy is complete they’ll have a date to report to MLS for project completion.
In May 2020, the roof was just being added to the canopy skeleton (pictured above on the East side). It’ll be the second largest canopy among MLS stadiums once it’s complete.
In July 2020 (ten months into construction), Austin FC announced a change of plans to the North End building. Instead of adding office space, the club will build a massive 18-tap Beer Hall and expand the merch store to a second story, increasing the store from 3,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. The yet-to-be-named Beer Hall will be open to ticket holders before, during, and after home matches—no word yet on hours or away game availability.
Also in July, the club began work on the playing field. Cranes were moved out and sand and dirt have been dumped in to start foundation work on the field. Below is the actual field turf being grown in Arizona, which will be transported to Austin and installed in the fall.
In August 2020, the club held a topping out ceremony for the stadium—where an evergreen tree is placed atop a major structure when a milestone has been completed.
In late October, the grass was trucked from an Arizona sod farm to the stadium and installed in three nights. The field uses a rare shade-tolerant turf called ‘seashore paspalum’, necessary because of the large amount of sunlight blocked by the overhanging canopies.
In December 2020, the club erected a large sign at the Burnet Rd entrance. The design of the base represents a tree trunk with branches. It appears to have translucent panels which will glow (bright verde?) once interior lighting is installed. The words “Home of Austin FC” and “Casa del Austin FC” appear on either side of the sign. An LED sign will perch at the top.
Also, the club has started work on the exterior grounds of the stadium. Construction on the Southeast plot includes concrete forms for the open air terrace, retention pond, and parking lot.
What’s the stadium timeline?
Construction broke ground in fall 2019 with Anthony Precourt and other Austin FC owners, as well as city council members, the MLS president, and other local dignitaries on hand for the groundbreaking festivities.
Construction is expected to take approximately 18 months. Austin FC has a live construction camera on their website if you want to peek in on the progress.
In April 2021, the stadium will be open for business. This means Austin FC’s first matches in March will be away games—not quite as long as what Portland experienced in 2019 with their construction project.
Not affiliated with the club’s project, a sign near the Austin FC tract advertises an office tower, called Arena Tower, to be constructed on the land adjoining the stadium. The Arena group has approached Austin FC about partnering with their property in some manner, likely for alternative parking on match day.
Want to learn more about the stadium design? Check out our podcast interview with Austin FC stadium design director Jonathan Emmett.
Stadium renderings, design plans, and experience center, oh my
Austin FC revealed the very first stadium renderings in late 2018, posting images of the stadium’s interior and exterior from various angles.
In June 2019, the club released new renderings highlighting revisions to the interior design, such as larger canopies over the seats, as well as showing off different luxury suites, plus a bar (surprise!) in the supporter’s section. (No signs of a queso fountain yet.)
Design plans for the stadium site include a public park, a long terraced green space, as well as limited surface parking on the North and East side. Architecture firm Gensler Sports (designers of LAFC’s Banc of California stadium) and construction company Austin Commercial will build the stadium. CAA Icon acts as the project management firm.
Access roads from Burnet Road and Braker Lane on the north side will be the primary routes for fans to enter the stadium. On the south end, McKalla Place will be used primarily for deliveries to the loading dock of the stadium. Also, additional parking on the McKalla Place side will be available until affordable housing is built in phase 2 (planned for 2025).
In August 2019, a detailed 3-D scale model and virtual reality room of the stadium interior was unveiled at the Austin FC front office. Invitations for the Experience Center began to go out in November for Premium deposit holders to tour.
Birth of a stadium
Signed on a cold day in December 2018, a lease agreement was inked between the city and Precourt Sport Ventures (now Two Oak Ventures). It’s a 20-year lease on the city’s land, with the club paying annual rent of $550K starting in 2027. As part of the deal, the stadium will be built on the club’s dime—to be handed over to the ATX upon completion.
Earlier that year—August 15, 2018 to be exact—is when the stadium officially got the green light. The Austin City Council voted 7-4 to execute a lease with PSV for the McKalla Place tract, after months of agonizing delays in voting. Council members Leslie Pool, Ora Houston, Ellen Troxclair, and Alison Alter voted against the stadium.
To diehard supporters, that contentious vote of 7-4 is ingrained in their brain. In 2021, don’t be surprised if you hear chants on match day of “7-4” “7-4” referencing the historic vote in Austin.
Location of Austin FC Stadium: