The Orlando City Soccer Club now has the land it needs to build its new stadium in the Parramore neighborhood west of downtown.
The Orlando City Council Monday approved a deal to sell the land to the soccer club’s stadium company, Orlando Soccer Stadium LLC for $17.99 million, closing a deal that had the city assemble the properties through a long, sometimes contentious process. The company also will pay the city $3.1 million for site-preparation work. The total to the city is just over $21 million.
With the land in hand, the team is planning to finance and build its own 25,500-seat stadium east of Glenn Lane, south of Central Boulevard, west of Terry Avenue and north of Church Street, in the long-impoverished African-American community of Parramore. It would host both the MLS’s Orlando City Lions Soccer Club, and the National Women’s Soccer League Orlando Pride, after it opens in 2017.
The deal, more than a year in the works, included clashes between Orlando and a church that did not want to move.
The final concerns rested in whether the Parramore neighborhood would benefit from the stadium, which is a few blocks from the Amway Center basketball arena, on the southern edge of Parramore, and the Citrus Bowl football stadium (where the Lions currently play) about a mile away.
Mayor Buddy Dyer was emphatic that the city – and Orlando City Soccer – have undertaken numerous improvements that help Parramore, and that more are on the way.
But Commissioner Regina Hill expressed concerns that business owners in the area are suffering great losses because of street closures because of construction already underway, and implored the city and the soccer club to find ways to assist them.
Orlando City Soccer President Phil Rawlins assured that the club would work with Hill “to make sure that happens.”
In addition, Parramore activist Jonathan Blount insisted that the city still hasn’t developed the promised comprehensive economic development plan the neighborhood needs.
“There’s still more to do but It does not rest solely on Orlando City to be the savior of a particular Parramore,” Dyer said.