Austin FC stadium broke ground in September and construction has begun.
If you haven’t heard, the McKalla Place stadium will be located near the Burnet Road and Braker Lane intersection in North Austin (across from UT’s JJ Pickle Research Campus on Burnet).
The land has been cleared and a lone sign posted with the words in bright verde “Coming Spring 2021” sits on the land. That’s when Austin FC will take the pitch for their inaugural match at the 20,500-seat stadium.
In the meantime, fans are having fun posing for selfies with the sign, putting supporter stickers on the sign posts, and even placing good luck items at the base.
Bookmark this blog post for regular updates on the progress of Austin FC stadium.
What’s Happening at the Stadium
Construction broke ground on September 9 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 will 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 stadium 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.
If anything, Arena Tower will provide alternative parking for fans on match day (and probably offer a great view for anyone that works in the office tower).
Stadium Renderings, Plans, and an Experience Center, oh my
Austin FC released initial renderings in late 2018, revealing images of the stadium’s interior and exterior from various angles.
In June 2019, the club released new renderings highlighting changes to the interior, 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 will begin to go out in November for fans to tour that are interested in purchasing season tickets.
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.