FC Cincinnati unveil design renderings for potential soccer-specific stadium
MLS expansion hopeful, FC Cincinnati, unveiled design renderings for their proposed soccer-specific stadium to awaiting fans and press on Monday, revealing a 25,000-seat, horseshoe-shaped concept inspired by Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
The design features a canopy on all four sides and a façade that can be illuminated with LED lighting reflected off translucent material, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Designed by renowned stadium architect, Dan Meis, of MEIS Architects, FC Cincinnati’s proposed new home could potentially expand to hold up to 30,000 fans through the use of berm seating on one end of the closed-in horseshoe.
While they have a design, the club is yet to secure a site for their proposed US$200m stadium, which they are intending to fund through a public-private partnership (PPP).
Principal FC Cincinnati owner, Carl Lindner III, said:
We’re looking to develop an appropriate public-private partnership that’s possible without new taxes or increases on our people. Public-private partnerships are what has allowed Greater Cincinnati to punch so far above its weight class with seven Fortune 500 companies, world-class hospitals and universities, arts institutions, parks, a human-services system led by the United Way that’s one of the most generous in the nation. All of that’s not possible without public-private partnership – that’s what all of us need to realize.
The USL club, which currently plays at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, is reportedly considering three sites: one in Cincinnati’s West End neighbourhood, another in the city’s Oakley neighbourhood and a third just across the Ohio River from downtown in Newport, Kentucky.
Club President, Jeff Berding, said at Monday’s design unveiling event that he hopes to break ground on the new stadium by early next year, with opening slated for the start of the 2020 MLS season. However, Berding also noted that the stadium would only be built if Cincinnati is awarded an MLS expansion franchise.
FC Cincinnati are one of 12 groups vying for four MLS expansion spots. The League has said that the first two expansion teams will be awarded by the end of the year and will join the MLS in 2020.
Stadiums represent the largest piece of infrastructure required of the 12 organisations vying for the four MLS expansion bids. It’s widely believed some of the expansion race will be decided by which teams can produce on the stadium aspect of their respective bids.
WHAT OF NIPPERT STADIUM?
As part of FC Cincinnati’s deal to reconfigure the lower bowl of the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, the club’s current home, the club would be responsible for restoring Nippert to its original configuration if it exited the venue and its agreement with the school. At least that was the working understanding around the time construction began on Nippert back in November.
UC Athletic Director Mike Bohn seemed to suggest in a November interview with The Enquirer the new configuration could be advantageous for Bearcats football.
The expanded space in the south end zone will provide safer playing conditions for athletes, Bohn said at the time. Risers, on-field suites and other options are being considered for the increase in space.
MORE: Details on FC Cincy’s changes to Nippert Stadium
MORE: UC releases Nippert Stadium renderings
Berding suggested FC Cincinnati wouldn’t end its relationship with UC if it moved to its own purpose-built facility. Matches that demanded 35,000 seats or more could be held at Nippert, Berding said.
Asked by an audience member about the future of FC Cincinnati if its MLS bid fails, Berding said the team would endeavour to continue playing and growing at Nippert.
FC Cincinnati is in its second year at UC’s historic football venue. The club is still in the initial three-year term of a deal with the University to play at Nippert Stadium for up to 15 years.
Images, courtesy: FC Cincinnati / MEIS
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