The Columbus Dispatch - - Na­tion&world - Dis­patch Reporter Andrew Erickson con­trib­uted to this story. [email protected]­ @Rick­Rouan

Down­town that the let­ter says are “fea­si­ble” and could help cre­ate a “sta­dium cen­tral” along with Na­tion­wide Arena and Hunt­ing­ton Park.

“For all of th­ese op­tions, we would part­ner with pri­vate devel­op­ers to turn the sur­round­ing area into an en­ter­tain­ment district with restau­rants, bars and at­trac­tive streetscapes,” they wrote in the let­ter.

Along with sta­dium sites, the let­ter out­lined sce­nar­ios in which lo­cal in­vestors would pur­chase por­tions of the team. All of those of­fers are con­tin­gent on the Crew and MLS making a long-term com­mit­ment to stay­ing in Colum­bus.

Ginther and Fis­cher both signed the let­ter. Both de­clined to com­ment on the let­ter, Ginther do­ing so through a spokes­woman.

In a state­ment, the Crew own­ers said: “Pre­court Sports Ven­tures re­ceived and has read the let­ter dis­trib­uted by Colum­bus Mayor Ginther and Alex Fis­cher. As noted two weeks ago, PSV re­mains open to pro­duc­tive di­a­logue should the City of Colum­bus choose to reen­gage with PSV.”

First, the city needs a com­mit­ment, said Robin Davis, the mayor’s spokes­woman. “We want to be able to en­ter into good-faith part­ner­ship with the MLS and with Mr. Pre­court, and for all of us to be able to do that and move any fur­ther we need the com­mit­ment from them that they will stay in Colum­bus. We aren’t in­ter­ested in be­ing in a bid­ding war with an­other city.”

Mapfre Sta­dium sits on about 15 acres at the fair­grounds, but that doesn’t in­clude the sur­round­ing park­ing.

At Lou Ber­liner Park, the city has more than 200 acres along the Scioto River, south of Down­town and near Ger­man Vil­lage.

Dodge Recre­ation Cen­ter is part of a 16-acre park near the in­ter­change of In­ter­states 70 and 71 in Franklin­ton, where lo­cal of­fi­cials ex­pect de­vel­op­ment to ex­plode in the next sev­eral decades. Sev­eral mixed-use de­vel­op­ments on city- and county-owned prop­erty al­ready are in the

works for Franklin­ton.

Davis said the city likely would try to “recre­ate those park spa­ces” else­where if they were cho­sen for a new soc­cer sta­dium.

“We know those are im­por­tant ar­eas to the neigh­bor­hoods,” she said.

Davis de­clined to spec­ify which privately owned Down­town sites the city has in mind for a sta­dium. She said the city has dis­cussed re­de­vel­op­ing the Ohio Expo Cen­ter — the ex­ist­ing sta­dium site — with state of­fi­cials in the past but never in the con­text of keep­ing the Crew in Colum­bus.

The Crew signed a 25-year lease for the state-owned land in 1998, spend­ing about $28.5 mil­lion to build a sta­dium. Mod­ern stadiums can cost more than $200 mil­lion.

A spokes­woman for the Ohio Expo Cen­ter said the agency does not have any de­vel­op­ment plans for the site.

“Ev­ery­thing we’re do­ing is in a pre­lim­i­nary phase,” Davis said. “We would be work­ing with the state as part­ners and also pri­vate devel­op­ers to make that hap­pen.”

In a state­ment, Gov. John Ka­sich’s spokesman, Jon

Keel­ing, said: “As he’s stated be­fore, the gov­er­nor would cer­tainly like the Crew to stay in Colum­bus. While we did not have a hand in this as­pect of the mayor’s pro­posal to Ma­jor League Soc­cer and Mr. Pre­court, we are happy to dis­cuss any and all po­ten­tial ideas for a longterm home for the Crew.”

Ginther and Fis­cher out­lined sev­eral sce­nar­ios in which lo­cal in­vestors would pur­chase stakes in the team, in­clud­ing “crowd­fund­ing and shared own­er­ship with lo­cal in­vestors in a ‘Green Bay Pack­ers’ model of pro­fes­sional sports.” With­out giv­ing de­tails, a source close to the ne­go­ti­a­tions said an un­named per­son from the re­gion is will­ing to buy a ma­jor­ity stake in the team.

Pre­court bought the team in 2013 for $68 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Forbes.

The let­ter also of­fers to help the Crew line up lo­cal spon­sors to sup­port the team.


Crew SC sup­port­ers wait for their team to ar­rive for Wed­nes­day night’s MLS East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nals game against Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto.

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