FC Cincinnati announces they will 100% privately fund stadium
In a Press Conference on Tuesday afternoon, GM and President Jeff Berding along with majority Owner Carl Lindner III announced that they will 100% privately fund their new stadium and are only asking for money from the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to pay for the infrastructure surrounding the stadium.
The funds they are looking for are planned for the Oakley location, but they are not 100% settled on the Oakley site. However, where ever they land they will still pay the entire amount whether it is Oakley, OTR (which is probably off the table at this point), or Newport. In total, Ownership is putting forth $350 million in private money. Berding says that negotiations are still ongoing, and are awaiting the City's response, but time is ticking as MLS Expansion will be decided one month from today on December 14th and they are not willing to wait around.
One drawback from the private funding is that Berding announced the stadium will drop back down to $200 million and 21,000 seats to be affordable for the Club as that is the bare minimum that is accepted by MLS.
The total infrastructure needs for the stadium would range around $70 million. Mayor Cranley has agreed to help pay with City money, but it will not cover the whole cost. A City-County Partnership is necessary to cover the costs. The Club, thanks to help from the Mayor, has identified a pot of $2.8 million that is stashed away from funds gained for the Visitor Occupancy Tax and Hotel Revenue every year for "other projects."
They see this as a possible way for Hamilton County to support their part of the infrastructure costs around the stadium. That aspect still needs to be approved by Hamilton County Commissioners, whom will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the recent development and will have an announcement around 1pm. Berding laid the heat on the County, basically stating that they are the last barrier in keeping FCC from Cincinnati.
Berding called the deal a "lay-up" for the County, saying that they are only asking for infrastructure money which the county spends on many different projects across the city.
Lindner said "this is the last box to get checked." "None of the other development projects [in the city] have a quarter of a billion dollars of investment in them... what are we waiting for?" concerning the City be hesitant to provide infrastructure costs.
Cincinnati fans and MLS expansion watchers around the country now wait in stand-still to see what will happen and if the County Commissioners will approve what is seemingly FCC's last offer and chance to stay in their founding city. The clock is ticking, so expect news any day now.
Also, Berding also mentioned that he is flying to Austin tonight to present Cincinnati's World Cup bid to FIFA officials tomorrow morning.