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Deal between city, soccer club on stadium land could be ready in 2-3 weeks, valuation near $13M

Deal between city, soccer club on stadium land could be ready in 2-3 weeks, valuation near $13M
A partial view of new soccer stadium’s footprint that will encompass 10.58 acres across 12 parcels that lie between W. Central Boulevard, W. Church Street, Glenn Lane to the west, and a point midway between N. Parramore Avenue and S. Terry Avenue to the east. (Google Street View)

The City of Orlando should have contracts ready as soon as Jan. 25 for the 8.5 acres it has agreed to sell to Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) for a new downtown soccer stadium, with the land potentially valued near $13 million.

A city spokeswoman confirmed for GrowthSpotter on Wednesday that land sale and development agreements should be brought forward for approval at one of the next two City Council meetings, Jan. 25 or Feb. 8.

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This will include land the soccer stadium will sit on directly, and land the city owns to the east. The city hasn't finalized a sale price for the land because the agreement is not yet signed, but the spokeswoman said price per square foot is expected to be roughly $35, based on the price it was acquired for and other appraisals in the area.

That valuation would price the 8.5 acres (370,260 square feet) at $12.96 million.

The new soccer stadium's footprint will encompass 10.58 acres across 12 parcels that lie between W. Central Boulevard, W. Church Street, Glenn Lane to the west, and a point midway between N. Parramore Avenue and S. Terry Avenue to the east.

Eleven of those parcels (8.5 acres) are city-owned. OCSC bought the only privately-owned parcel within the stadium's footprint on July 1, a 2.08-acre parcel at 655 W. Church St. at the corner of N. Parramore Avenue that was owned by Northbrook Properties Inc. That land was bought for $5.9 million, based on deed doc taxes paid.

Lenny Santiago, spokesman for OCSC, affirmed that the club is in the final stages of property negotiation with the city, and acknowledged that a final agreement could be ready by the dates offered by the city spokeswoman.

"When dealing with a complex number of parcels like this, it is not a deal that could be done overnight," Santiago said. "It has taken a couple months, but everything has been negotiated in great partnership between the city and the club."

CONTRACT TERMS
In rough drafts of the development and land sale contracts provided on Wednesday afternoon, the development agreement stipulates that OCSC play all its league home games at the stadium for at least 25 years.

If the club ever wanted to sell the property/stadium or relocate the team, it could only do so by selling the property to an entity that owns an MLS or NWSL franchise, which would be obligated to use the stadium for the remainder of the 25 year-term.

If the club relocated to another city within that 25-year term, the property and stadium would have to be transferred to the city's ownership at no cost.

The city government will also be provided a suite in the stadium at no cost, including tickets to all events at the stadium.

In the land sale contract, OCSC's affiliate Orlando Soccer Stadium LLC will pay $25,000 as earnest money to escrow agent GrayRobinson, PA, upon execution of the contract.

Purchase price for the property was left blank in the rough draft. The soccer club will pay all closing costs, and no taxes or assessments will be prorated.

FAIR MARKET VALUE
Determining fair market value in this case would be a major challenge, private land appraisers told GrowthSpotter in August.

Fair market value is determined by what a knowledgeable, willing, and unpressured buyer would probably pay to a knowledgeable, willing and unpressured seller in the market.

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Club spokesman Santiago said Wednesday he could not confirm the land price agreed upon with the city.

The club is also expected to cover the cost of storm water retention work for the site, which a city official estimated in May was valued at about $3.1 million.

The city and soccer club first entered into a memorandum of understanding in October 2013, which provided the terms under which a new soccer stadium would be built and operated.

Orlando's City Council first approved a construction agreement for the downtown soccer stadium in March 2014. As much as $30 million in state funding seemed like it could be acquired through 2014, but that fell through at the state legislature in Spring 2015.

OCSC and the city have been negotiating fair market value for the stadium site property since at least May 29, 2015, when the club confirmed it would build the stadium with private funds.

OCSC announced Wednesday morning that it will delay opening the new stadium until 2017, instead of late in the 2016 season as previously planned. Construction of the new $155 million stadium is taking longer than anticipated.

Steel will begin to be installed at the stadium site later this month, following months of site preparation.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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