Louisville City FC has moved a step closer to building its own 10,000 seat, soccer-specific stadium after taking an option on land in the Butchertown neigbourhood.
LouCity, which currently plays at Louisville Slugger Field, competes in the United Soccer League (USL), sanctioned Division II in the United States below only Major League Soccer (MLS).
A study conducted last year by the City of Louisville determined a soccer-specific stadium is needed to maintain and grow the game in the city.
After months of work with various property owners, Louisville City FC is a step closer to making that a reality.
Tracts of land are under option in the Butchertown neighbourhood, where the club plans to transform 40 acres into a 10,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium and adjacent development including space for offices, hotels and retail.
Club chairman John Neace said:
Since receiving the results of the study, our board has explored a number of potential stadium locations, but none measured up to this site as a longterm home for Louisville City FC. We’re ready to solidify the future of LouCity, an important community asset.
Through public-private partnership, LouCity intends to continue the revitalisation of downtown Louisville and surrounding areas in space occupied by the former Challenger Lifts headquarters, an above-ground oil tank facility, a storage space and auto salvage lot.
A 10,000-seat soccer-specific stadium would open in 2020.
LouCity is working with city government, Metro Council members and state economic development officials to make the project a reality.
Construction of a stadium and nearby development, including office and retail space, would create jobs, drive tax revenues and spur economic growth beyond soccer.
LouCity board member Mike Mountjoy said:
The concept of a master development agreement gives us the ability to build a stadium and commercial value around it that can assist in funding the stadium. We want to thank Mayor Greg Fischer and his team for working side by side with us in planning this project.
The club has made back-to-back runs to the conference finals after starting play in 2015.
The USL has mandated that its members all move into soccer-specific stadiums by 2020. Additionally, LouCity pays rental fees at Slugger Field, which it splits with the Louisville Bats baseball team, as well as the cost of converting the field for soccer.
Sponsorship opportunities are limited, and concession revenue does not go to the soccer club.
LouCity commissioned global architecture firm HOK for stadium design of a facility expandable to 20,000 seats should the opportunity to move to the MLS present itself. Initial renderings show seating within close vicinity of the pitch, a suite level and amenities including roofs and multiple video boards.