FC Cincinnati Says It Missed Deadline For West End Properties
Updated: 6:33 p.m.
FC Cincinnati doubled its offer to Cincinnati Public Schools in a proposed land swap to build a new soccer stadium, but the deal may just have fallen through.
The team said it faced a 5 p.m. deadline on an option to buy properties from the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, which it did not meet given that CPS had yet to accept the terms of deal.
Cincinnati Public Schools leaders met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the proposed land swap to build a new soccer stadium for FC Cincinnati. The board of education also sent a letter back to the team, asking for a few things.
Under the deal, that land would have gone to CPS, and the current Stargel Stadium would be the site of a new home for FC Cincinnati. The new offer from the club promised $750,000 a year to the district for the first 10 years. It also says expanded academic, athletic, internship, and employment opportunities would be provided informally, as opposed to the earlier education benefits agreement. The promise to build a new $10 million Stargel Stadium was still included.
The team sent out a release Wednesday evening saying it received a letter from CPS, but did not "move ahead with the purchase of needed property for a West End stadium, property that was scheduled to close today." A team spokeswoman says there would be no further comment.
CPS' board of elections gathered in an executive session Wednesday afternoon, though CPS spokeswoman Lauren Worley said the board couldn't vote because there wasn't enough time to give public notice. She says she doesn't know when the board will have a public vote.
Worley says the board wanted CPS' attorney to talk with FC Cincinnati's. "The board believes they have demonstrated due diligence, openness, and transparency throughout this process."
She also says the board has consistently asked for a commitment to supplier diversity in the construction of a new Stargel Stadium and a community benefits agreement. "And also to insure that FC Cincinnati pay its fair share of taxes," Worley says. "Our paramount goal has been and will continue to be supporting all of CPS students."
CPS General Counsel Daniel Hoying wrote Monday evening that the original offer from FC Cincinnati didn't make the school district "whole." He said based on the projected value of a new stadium, CPS should receive $2 million a year.
In a letter dated March 14, club attorney D. Brock Denton said the league's latest offer "far exceeds the status quo." Denton says that means CPS would receive $70,000 a year in property taxes, and a "tax-abated, high-end CitiRama development" on the land at Ezzard Charles Drive.
Another statement from the team says, "This proposal provides CPS more tax revenue than a stadium site in Oakley or in Newport, KY – which would be zero."
Hear from FC President Jeff Berding. He appeared today on Cincinnati Edition.