Orlando One Step Closer to Kicking-off on New MLS Stadium
- Oct 14, 2013
By Balazs Szekely, Associate Editor
Only the spending plan is left to be approved by the Orange County Commission, as city leadership has accepted plans for Orlando’s new professional soccer stadium with a unanimous vote, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
According to a press release, the October 22 vote will take place at the County Administration Building, and if the spending plan goes through, The Lions stand a good chance of putting the fresh lawn to the test during their 2015 season. By that time, the currently minor league team hopes to have expanded its franchise into MLS.
The $94.5 million agreement approved by a 7-0 vote also includes $25 million in tourist tax funding for the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center; $12 million for the Florida Citrus Bowl; $27.5 million for tourism ads; as well as $10 million for improvements to the Orange County Convention Center.
Orlando Lions president Phil Rawlins is confident that Orlando is “more than ready to support Major League Soccer.”
About 50 Lions fans and employees attended the council meeting wearing purple to show their support.
The Orlando City Soccer Club, currently a member of the USL Pro division, was promised an MLS franchise about a year ago with the condition of building a soccer-specific arena. Until the time the new stadium is ready, the team will continue playing in the Citrus Bowl.
The council approved the terms that would allow the soccer team to be the main tenant of the new city-owned stadium. In contrast to the original budget of $110 million, the development’s outlay would total about $84 million since the Legislature had rejected state funding back in the first quarter.
The construction would cost $69 million and the rest is to be spent on the land and infrastructure. The team wouldn’t pay rent but it would contribute with $30 million toward the construction, and effectuate annual payments for the next 25 years.
According to the Sentinel, the plan provides $20 million in tourist taxes for the stadium, and the remaining funds include $20 million from the city and smaller amounts from other jurisdictions, including $2 million from Seminole County.
Photo credits: Orlando City SC