About the Author
Chad Swiatecki is a 20-year journalist who relocated to Austin from his home state of Michigan in 2008. He most enjoys covering the intersection of arts, business and local/state politics. He has written for Rolling Stone, Spin, New York Daily News, Texas Monthly, Austin American-Statesman and many other regional and national outlets.
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The first proposal submitted to the city’s open call for other ideas on how to use the McKalla Place property looks to be an astute bit of trolling of Precourt Sports Ventures, the owners of the Columbus Crew soccer team that may relocate to Austin next year. Rather than offer ideas for the North Austin parcel that’s the focus of PSV’s intent to build a new soccer stadium, the anonymous six-page plan submitted on Monday instead suggests that property owned by Austin Water east of U.S. Highway 183 and just south of Ed Bluestein Boulevard would be a better location for the stadium. The property is the site of the long-decommissioned Govalle Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is still partially used for training purposes but otherwise sits idle. Earlier this year Richard DePalma, vice chair of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Board and current District 8 City Council candidate, offered his vision for locating the stadium on the property that sits near Bolm Road District Park, though city staff found its occasional use and the need to purchase nearby private property as obstacles for the site’s consideration for a stadium. The city is accepting proposals for the McKalla property through the first week of August, but there is not a formal process in place, as what is typically used when City Council and staff agree to formally solicit plans that will lead to an eventual development deal. Instead, the McKalla proposals will be used for comparison purposes so that staff and Council members can judge the trade-offs of a stadium versus more traditional mixed-use or other commercial development. The city is currently negotiating with PSV on the McKalla site, with Council set to consider a possible property deal at its Aug. 9 meeting.
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