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Back on the home front

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 by Chad Swiatecki

With the city possibly on the verge of negotiations with Precourt Sports Ventures on a deal to use city-owned property to build a stadium to become the new home of the Columbus Crew soccer team, an Ohio court has ruled a lawsuit seeking to head off the relocation can proceed. Ohio’s 10th District Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the state’s lawsuit against PSV is valid, meaning the case remains on hold until mid-August to give the city of Columbus an opportunity to purchase the team. The timing plays into the interpretation of the state’s “Modell Law,” which requires that sports franchises using public facilities give six months’ notice of their intent to leave the state and requires an opportunity for municipalities or private interests to buy the team. PSV has argued the six-month clock began ticking in October when owner Anthony Precourt announced his intention to move the team if a new downtown stadium was constructed, but Columbus officials claim he was vague in giving notice and, as such, the notice period is still in effect. One of two soccer-related agenda items at Thursday’s City Council meeting would instruct the city manager to begin negotiations with PSV on a deal that would see a 20,000-seat stadium constructed on 24 acres of city property near the Domain under a $1-per-year lease. Another agenda item would open the parcel up to a full request for proposal process, with at least two development teams interested in buying the property for mixed-use projects.

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