MLS Expansion: Raleigh soccer hits Peace Street

MLS Expansion: Raleigh soccer hits Peace Street

Steve Malik, owner of the men's minor league soccer franchise North Carolina F.C. and driving force behind a bid to join Major League Soccer, unveiled the $150 million proposed stadium. The club has asked the State of North Carolina to "enter into a dialogue to facilitate a public-private partnership to build a mixed-use community" on the land. Wednesday's vote comes at a time when the Las Vegas 51's are looking to move out of the 34-year-old stadium and into a new home in Summerlin. The club has already partnered with local developer Kane Realty to help build the mixed-use development. "If they wanted to check every box, that's what we've tried to do".

"Having an outdoor venue with a roof on it that we can bring 20,000-plus people downtown. there are a lot of opportunities for improved entertainment options", Malik said.

"We've got a great chance".

The state now owns the land, though state government leaders acknowledge the land is underutilized.

The Triangle is completing against 11 other cities for four spots as part of the expansion: Charlotte; Sacramento; San Diego; Detroit; Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; Phoenix; and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.; Cincinnati; and San Antonio. The site is located just off of Capital Boulevard, the main thoroughfare leading into downtown Raleigh, and is located within walking distance of several bars and restaurants at Seaboard Station shopping center. In its entirety, the full project would come to $750 million of development on 13 acres. Malik said that the project would receive "significant" private investment, but indicated that he'd seek public assistance - perhaps in the form of a land deal, perhaps in an exchange that would see the club receive assistance in exchange for leasing office space to the government - during negotiations.

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A longer time frame would benefit bidders like Raleigh needing approvals from municipal authorities or voters to get stadium projects over the goal line.

MLS plans to announce its 25th and 26th teams in the second half of the year.

"I feel great about the timelines", he said.

Malik also owns the Courage of the National Women's Soccer League, the top professional women's the country. "I wouldn't be stepping on the field if I didn't think we could win", he said.

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