Term sheet is non-binding, to be presented to MLS board.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —
The Sacramento City Council approved a term sheet Tuesday night for a Major League Soccer stadium to be built at the downtown railyards.
The non-binding term sheet passed unanimously, with several council members touting soccer as a sport that unifies communities.
A term sheet effectively spells out the responsibilities of the city and the Sacramento Republic FC in the public-private entertainment venture. It also shows MLS officials the city is prepared to move quickly if, or when, it's awarded an expansion franchise.
The term sheet calls for the soccer team to privately finance the remaining $180 million needed to build the stadium. The city has already committed $46 million to improve streets and general infrastructure at the rail yards.
"This term sheet clarifies that there will be no further public investment," Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg said Monday.
Earlier this year, the Sacramento Republic FC lost its bid to become a MLS team to Minneapolis. Plans to move the Republic FC from the United Soccer League (USL) to MLS began in 2014.
The term sheet comes at a pivotal time, just a week before the MLS leaders meet for their semi-annual board of governor’s meeting. The term sheet will be presented to the board as part of the Republic FC’s bid for MLS.
Miami and Minneapolis have struggled to secure solid stadium plans for their franchises. If, for any reason, those cities lose favor with the league, Sacramento wants to be ready to move.
"We’re cautiously optimistic to confident," Sacramento Republic FC Senior Advisor Kunal Merchant said. "We believe in this market, and everything we’ve done through Republic, and frankly everything Sacramento’s done the last couple years. If we stick to our guns, if we follow our own game plan, and we be the best that we can be -- good things happen to Sacramento.
Hours before the vote, the city released renderings of the stadium, which were designed by architecture firm HNTB.
“Folks wanted this to be a building that celebrated Sacramento,” Merchant explained. “So, we’re celebrating the tree canopy, we’re celebrating the railyards, we’re celebrating agriculture, we’re celebrating the logo of Republic.”
At 25,000 seats, the stadium would be one of the larger stadiums in MLS. The new pitch could be constructed as early as March 2018.
"We want to accommodate whatever makes sense for MLS," Merchant said. "Right now, we can open a new stadium in 2018, but if they need us in 2017, or 2019, we could do that too."
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson congratulated the Sacramento Republic FC on the renderings, saying they offer "an exciting glimpse," into the city's future.
"Time and again, Sacramento has proven that we are a community, a Republic, that delivers, and let there be no doubt that Sacramento is ready for Major League Soccer," Johnson said.