Austin FC is taking another step forward toward its 2021 launch, unveiling plans for a $45 million training center — dubbed the St. David’s Performance Center — which is expected to debut in time for the team’s inaugural season, the club announced Wednesday.
The St. David’s Performance Center will be located within the Austin city limits, on the Parmer Pond portion of the 300-acre Parmer Austin development. The 23-acre training facility, which will serve as a home to both the Austin FC first team and its growing academy, will be “an anchor to a larger mixed-use development featuring office buildings, entertainment, hospitality, public gathering places and recreation,” according to a press release about the project.
The training facility will feature a 30,000 square-foot building, including offices for head coach Josh Wolff and academy director Tyson Wahl, four full-sized fields, and one half-sized field, to accommodate training. The turf field, where Austin FC academy teams will play home matches, includes a grandstand that will seat 1,000. Though most of the training fields are grass, one will be a “super-pitch” the release describes as “two surfaces combined to allow for greater levels of programming flexibility.”
One of the main drivers for the site selection, according to Austin FC CEO Anthony Precourt, was location. It is about five miles from the McKalla Place site in North Austin where the team’s stadium is currently under construction, making it a 10-minute drive from training facility to what will eventually become the team’s headquarters. That’s particularly appealing for Wolff, who will have offices in both locations.
Precourt said in an interview Tuesday the process has been informed, in part, by visits to other MLS teams’ training facilities, including a trio of teams Precourt often cites as admirable benchmarks: Atlanta United, LAFC, and the Portland Timbers.
The plan has Austin FC’s partners on the project excited for what it might do for the evolving site.
“With the addition of Austin FC, Parmer Austin will provide an unparalleled amenity experience for tenants and the community alike to enjoy an Austin FC academy game, visit a brew pub, eat at a local restaurant, sit by the 11-acre pond or play in a pick-up game of soccer on the public field,” Matthew Schwab, managing director of Karlin Real Estate, said in the release. “It’s exciting to see our vision for the Parmer Innovation Center as a destination development come to life.”
He also noted away day viewing parties at the Parmer Pond could be on the horizon in 2021.
The announcement was also a boon for the naming sponsors, who became Austin FC’s first major corporate partner in May. During that ceremony, plans for a St. David’s Performance Center were initially announced.
“St. David’s HealthCare is dedicated to the health and wellness of the Austin community — both inside the walls of our hospitals and beyond — and we are committed to serving as a true partner to Austin FC,” David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s HealthCare, said. “With the new St. David’s Performance Center, we will bring the same exceptional level of care provided in our facilities to Austin FC, allowing us to optimize each player’s potential.”