A new, privately funded Major League Soccer stadium is the centerpiece of a massive project to revitalize the Sacramento Railyards. A deal to build the stadium and pave the way for related development was announced during a joint Friday news conference by Sacramento Republic FC and City of Sacramento officials.
The deal may be what MLS officials need to award Sacramento an expansion franchise after the city lost out on a bid to join the league two years ago. The Republic FC ownership group and city leaders said they were not willing to accept defeat and began looking for ways to not only to address MLS concerns regarding Sacramento bid, but also go well beyond league expectations.
During the news conference, Mayor Steinberg, members of the city council and Sacramento Republic FC officials said they have checked all the boxes and then some.
The City will contribute to the deal by creating what is called an enhanced infrastructure financing district allowing the Republic FC investor group to capture a portion of the property tax growth caused by development of the site. The money will be used to reimburse the owners for some of cash they are expected to spend to install streets, traffic signals, utilities and other needed public infrastructure on the site. Republic FC investors also plan to develop 17 acres surrounding the stadium site, for a total private investment of nearly $1 billion.
The soccer stadium deal is unlike the one which led to the construction of the Golden 1 Center in downtown which became the home of the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings. Former city council member and current California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty did not support the NBA arena agreement. However, he does approve of this new deal.
"I'm just not a believer in massive public subsidies for arenas and sports franchises. I think a fair partnership to pay for infrastructure and some of the basics around the arena makes sense, and that's what this proposal is," said McCarty. "Something that protects the taxpayers and has the team paying the entire construction cost of the stadium."
McCarty noted that as a taxpayer he endorses the soccer stadium deal.