By DAN KARELL
Orlando City Soccer Club took one step closer on Monday evening to having a soccer-specific stadium to call home.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the Orlando City Council approved a construction agreement that lays out plans for the estimated $84 million soccer stadium that Orlando City SC will eventually move into. According to the reports in Orlando, the city will own the stadium but Orlando City SC will operate and develop it.
The construction agreement also forces Orlando City to pay for any cost overruns.
One aspect of note is that the agreement has the stadium completion date on Feb. 1, 2016, and not in the middle of the 2015 Major League Soccer season as Orlando City SC’s owners were planning for previously.
The 290,000 square foot stadium is expected to seat 18,000 people, including 2,500 club seats. People with club seats will have access to a 4,000 square foot buffet and bar, and the entire stadium will have access to a 4,000 square foot team store.
Though the field will be open to the elements, a roof will cover fans on the east and west sides of the stadium, along the sidelines.
The Orlando Sentinel suggests that the reason for the later completion date is due to a couple factors that have held up construction. One issue is that a church that owns property on land that Orlando City SC wants to use for the stadium has played tough in negotiations, asking for much more than the $1.5 million that the City of Orlando is offering.
Secondly, Orlando City SC is still trying to receive a reported $30 million in state tax breaks to fund additional improvements. If they receives the tax breaks, they could extend the roof to cover the north side of the stadium, where the Orlando City supporters are expected to stand.
The team also expects to be able to add 1,000 more seats and expand the club level in the stadium.
Populous, formerly HOK Sport, will design the stadium. Populous has designed stadiums in numerous sports around the world, and designed MLS venues Sporting Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, Dicks Sporting Goods Park, and Gillette Stadium.
What do you think of this news? Do you expect Orlando City to receive more tax breaks? Do you see Orlando City starting in MLS in the Citrus Bowl?
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