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Potential Columbus Crew ownership group commits money to downtown stadium

COLUMBUS — The new investor group that is slated to purchase Columbus Crew SC as soon as a deal is finalized with Precourt Sports Ventures intends to build a $230 million stadium in the Arena District of downtown Columbus.

The stadium would be 430,000 square feet, hold around 20,000 seats and sit on a 33-acres plot, which will also house 270,000 square feet of commercial and office space and 885 residential units in a development called “Confluence Village,” according to a fact sheet distributed during an announcement made Thursday. 

The announcement comes a day after the city of Columbus unveiled plans to redevelop the current MAPFRE stadium site into a training facility for the Crew and a Columbus Community Sports Park, with fields available for public use. That development is expected to cost $20 million to $30 million.

The stadium announcement was held at Land Grant Brewing, a local Columbus brewery that has been integral in the #SaveTheCrew movement. Multiple dignitaries were in attendance, including Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer, Governor-elect Mike DeWine, MLS Vice President Charles Altchek and members of the new ownership group Pete Edwards Jr., MD, and JW Johnson, the son-in-law of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

Between purchasing the team, building the training facility and building the stadium, the potential new ownership group is committing $645 million to the team. The city of Columbus will provide $50 million for infrastructure and development of the Columbus Community Sports Park. The city’s investment will not go toward the new stadium. The Franklin County Commission will also contribute $50 million of unspecified funds.

When the sale is finalized, a clause will be in the ownership contract that does not allow the team to leave Columbus.

Construction is slated to begin in 2019 and be ready for the 2021 MLS season.

Multiple people spoke at the event, giving thanks to the community for helping make this project a reality.

“We’re not the owners of this team. We’re the stewards of this team. The people in this room are the owners,” Johnson said, “everything we’ve done so far pales in comparison to what [the fans] have done for this team.”

Said Edwards: “Without #SaveTheCrew, this doesn’t happen.”

Fischer gave thanks to MLS, saying the league gave them a chance to save the team. Fischer also said an end-of-year deadline for the sale has been set by the league, and that they are working hard to meet that deadline.

A city council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET Thursday for community comments and finalization of the training facility plan.

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