AUSTIN — As Austinites gear up for the possibility of having a Major League Soccer stadium at McKalla Place in North Austin, they can also visualize an affordable housing complex in close proximity to the multi-million dollar venue.
Tuesday, representatives with Precourt Sports Ventures and Foundation Communities, an Austin nonprofit focused on providing affordable housing to families with children, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities, released an updated site plan for the 25-acre McKalla Place that includes an area for 130 affordable housing units in a four-story building. Next to the apartments, the plan highlights an area for a 600-car parking structure that is also four levels.
Precourt Sports Ventures' attorney Richard Suttle said their plan is to revitalize the area and ensure a benefit for the community because he said, "we know what an important issue [affordable housing] is in Austin."
Other areas inside of the hypothetical McKalla Place stadium include about 1,000 parking spaces, open park space, a music/performance space, a bicycle valet, a service dock, a detention and biofiltration pond, and a rail station (optional) and crosswalk.
The City Council is set to vote on a few items related to the stadium at its meeting Thursday and members discussed them at Tuesday's work session.
Item 130 directs the city manager to analyze and start negotiations with Precourt Sports Ventures to put the stadium at McKalla Place. But Item 60 instructs him to solicit plans for development of the site.
Council Member Leslie Pool, who is the sponsor for Item 60, said the two don't conflict.
"Ultimately my hope is that both of these items pass. Both 60 and 130. We can continue this conversation with everything in front of us and have all our options on the table and make a really, really good and defensible decision for the long term benefit of the Austin community," she said.
But other members disagreed, citing concerns with soliciting proposals, which can be a lengthy and costly process, with no clear direction on what the site should be used for. Some also raised issues with soliciting requests while negotiating to build a stadium in the same location.