AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC plays its first game at Q2 Stadium on Saturday. Ahead of the game, KXAN is taking a look back at the massive project.
The stadium was just a dream a few years back. In May 2018, Austin leaders asked for community feedback on the potential purchase of land in north Austin, referred to as McKalla Place. While some weren’t on board yet, many were hopeful it’d usher in a new era of soccer fans.
“I think it would be a big benefit for the city of Austin,” one Austinite said.
At the time, the city had this conceptual site plan from Precourt Sports Ventures to go off of. That’s the group behind the project.
It shows a stadium with 20,000 seats, 3 parking lots and an outdoor performance area. In December 2018, after months of discussion, Austin finalized a deal.
Precourt Sports Ventures agreed to fully fund the $225 million stadium. No tax dollars paid for it. Finally, in 2019, Austin FC broke ground on its new home. Fans couldn’t wait, and neither could the team.
“It is meant to be a beautiful space for matches and a beautiful space for community events,” said Andy Loughnane, Austin FC president.
The project came with some push back. Some residents said the property could be better used for affordable housing.
“This neighborhood itself has not changed that much. But, everything around it has changed enormously,” Craig Nazor, a neighbor near Q2 Stadium, told KXAN.
Ultimately, with Austin FC promising to be a good neighbor, work continued. Late last year, in the middle of the pandemic, KXAN got its first view inside. A freshly laid pitch with cement barriers was a shell of what was to come.
In January, Austin FC announced the name of its new home, Q2 Stadium. Q2 is an Austin-based global software company for banking and finance. It signed a multi-year partnership with the team.
A 2018 study predicted the stadium would draw in more than $25 million in economic activity for the City of Austin, bringing a shot of cash to an area ready for kickoff.