Sure. The Louisville City FC stadium project satisfies United Soccer League (USL) demands. But ultimately they mean to attract the MLS to their Kentucky home.
By spring 2018 Louisville City FC will break ground on a 10,000-seat stadium. The Louisville City FC stadium project represents an important part of a 40-acre retail, office and entertainment area planned for trendy Butchertown.
The stadium has to open by 2020 to meet the USL deadline. All their teams must have soccer-specific homes. The new stadium makes up 20-percent of the $200 million plan for Butchertown, the Louisville neighborhood once home to inventor Thomas Edison.
Stadium feature makes MLS magnet
Architectural firm HOK designed the structure to expand to 20,000 seats. That feature makes Louisville a candidate for first-tier MLS soccer, Louisville City FC Chairman John Neace says.
Neace: “We’re building this thing to get to MLS from here. It’s time we think bigger, and we can do that here in Louisville.”
Stadium furthers revitalization
Since the 1990s, Butchertown started revitalization to give young professionals an urban-centered life without living downtown. The soccer team will seek $30-$35 million in tax financing for its part of the new development, to include two 250-room hotels and 400,000 feet of office space.
Once soccer starts and the entire 40-acre development opens, economic expectations soar. USL fans would attend games before or after recreation in nearby areas such as Louisville’s Waterfront Park, as describes Andy Cornelius, former Butchertown Neighborhood Association President.
Cornelius: “There traditionally has been industry on that site. It has good connectivity to Waterfront Park, to the interstate and to bike trails. There already are a great number of attractions and restaurants in the area, and the stadium will add to the visibility and the growth that we have seen over the last decade.”
Should project leaders realize their MLS dream for the Louisville FC Stadium project, those 20,000 fans will make the impact even better. But first there is a stadium and a few more seasons of USL action.