Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Houston stadium deal delayed

The city of Houston is giving itself an extra week to consider the proposal to purchase land for a Dynamo soccer stadium.

The City Council will look at the $15.5 million land deal on Wednesday but is expected to delay any decision to next week. If the city goes ahead with the purchase, they will acquire 5 blocks just outside of downtown currently owned by former Councilman Louis Macey. They are trying to get hold of the sixth block by swapping already owned land.

Although the main hope for this deal is to land a stadium, there is no guarantee that the Dynamo will build a stadium on the location. It is also not know if the city would sell or rent the land to the team.

It does seem that the city is very much hoping to make this happen, provided no tax dollars go to actual construction, so the pressure is on the Dynamo organization. The number one reason for the team's move from California was a lack of a stadium deal. Now it appears that a deal is coming together, however it might be the team that keeps it from happening.

AEG has said in the past that they are very interesting in building a stadium, however they also want to sell their Houston franchise to focus on their other club the LA Galaxy. Since MLS wants teams to own the facilities in which they play, if AEG does sell the team, they would have to work out an agreement over the stadium with new owners, but this could take some time to accomplish (look no further then the year long delay with the New York Red Bull stadium after AEG sold the team).

So in the end, we have a situation that appears to be more common then ever in the league, a city ready to help make a stadium happen (Houston, Miami, St. Louis) but either the team or league holding back.

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