Louisville, KY., – Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a $200 million economic development plan for about 35 underused acres in Butchertown that will be anchored by a 10,000-seat, 15-acre soccer stadium, allowing Louisville to compete for an MLS franchise.
“This is an exciting, worthwhile project that takes an underused, very visible swath of land and creates a vibrant new stadium district that builds on the momentum downtown, in Nulu and Butchertown,” the Mayor said. “This is a smart opportunity, and when smart opportunities to move our city forward come up, we’re going to grab them.”
Louisville City Football Club (LCFC) will build the $50 million stadium and serve as developer of the overall project, which will include retail, a hotel and offices, built by private investment.
Louisville Metro Government’s sole investment is $30 million to purchase the land for the development and do brownfield remediation and public infrastructure improvements. The project is expected to increase hotel, restaurant and retail amenities nearby and create a “stadium district” where the soccer stadium, Louisville Slugger Field and the Yum! Center are all within blocks of each other, along the same line of sight.
The city’s $30 million portion will be covered by general obligation bond — $25 million to buy the land and $5 million as a contribution to brownfield remediation and public infrastructure.
No Metro tax dollars will be used for stadium construction. In fact, LCFC will pay $14.5 million back to the city over 20 years from sales of land, rent from leases of land, and stadium rent. In addition, if the stadium hits certain financial markers, the city has an opportunity to share in the upside of that growth, up to $2 million.
On behalf of Louisville City Football Club, Chairman and President John Neace, thanked Mayor Fischer and Louisville Forward “for their commitment to the growth of professional soccer in Louisville.
“Today marks another important step in our vision to be the best United Soccer League club in the country, with the ultimate goal of bringing Major League Soccer to Louisville,” Neace said. “We look forward to building a world-class soccer stadium and surrounding development that continues revitalization in the Butchertown neighborhood.”
With Metro Council approval, the city will work with LCFC on an application to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) for a mixed-use TIF for the project.
To be eligible for state participation in a TIF, the local applicant (the city) must have some financial participation in the project; in this case, the city’s participation would be the money spent on land acquisition, brownfield remediation and debt service of the bonds to pay for the land.
The city will not commit any of its local property tax revenues to be included in the TIF.
Construction of the project will comply with Metro Ordinance 37.75 with respect to minority, women and local participation goals: 20 percent minority participation, 5 percent women participation, with 75 percent of the work going to residents of the Louisville MSA.
A city-commissioned feasibility study confirmed that a soccer-specific stadium is needed to maintain and grown professional soccer in Louisville. The study called for a soccer-specific stadium, with the ability to hold 10,000 seats, to be built by 2020.