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FC Cincinnati And City Reach Deal On Land Needed For New Stadium

FC Cincinnati
An updated rendering of the FC Cincinnati stadium to be constructed in the West End.

Cincinnati officials and FC Cincinnati have reached an agreement to sell a city-owned parking lot behind Police District 1 that the team needs to build its new stadium in the West End.

The ordinance for the issue was presented to City Council Wednesday evening and a vote on the measure will likely come next week.

FC Cincinnati had wanted to purchase the parking lot for $1, but a council majority said no.  They wanted the appraised value of the land, which the city set at $1,632,384.

The sale agreement includes several provisions.  Those include (from the agreement):

  • When the FC Cincinnati stadium opens in 2021 through 2031, the team will guarantee payments to the city of at least $550,000 in the form of admissions tax and parking revenue.
  • The team will construct the police department a new investigate unit facility at District 3, which is estimated to cost $300,000.
  • FC Cincinnati will provide 115 parking spaces exclusively for the police department, those being in either an FC garage or the city-owned Town Center Garage. These will be guaranteed even on game days. (If the spots are in Town Center, the team will pay $40 a month/per space for the initial two years of the agreement.)
  • The team will construct a new surface parking lot along Ezzard Charles Drive with 67 spaces.  That construction cost will be capped at $750,000.
  • Beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2041, the city will provide FC Cincinnati with game day rights to all spaces in Town Center Garage for all MLS regular season games and playoff games and up to four other professional soccer games (for a total of no more than 28 total game days).  The team will also have game day rights to the spaces in the new surface parking lot.
  • The team also has the "right of first refusal" if the city ever decides to sell the District 1 Police headquarters building.

"The deal that is being referred to committee on Monday for passage, in my opinion gets us more than double the city's appraised value," Mayor John Cranley said. "And I think it is more than fair and frankly a no-brainer."
The full council will also vote next week on a zone change needed for the project.  A City Council committee approved that item earlier this week.

Cranley said he's hopeful this is the last set of votes City Council will have to take on the stadium project.

Meanwhile FC Cincinnati is working on several other issues related to the stadium project, which include:

  • Reaching an agreement with the Cincinnati Ballet concerning a parking lot needed for stadium construction. FC Cincinnati now owns the lot, but the ballet has a long-term lease to use it for parking. The two sides are working on a solution for that issue.
  • Working with the Cincinnati Arts Association and performing companies at Music Hall on noise issues.  A preliminary study released this week found sound from the stadium on game days could be heard inside Music Hall during performances and rehearsals.  The team and arts organizations are having conversations about that report.
  • A City Council majority has now signed a motion to prevent the team from shutting down traffic on Central Parkway on game days. The team had asked for this in discussions with the city.
  • The team and Hamilton County are still negotiating about the size and location of a county-funded parking garage.