Earlier this week, city officials signed letters of intent to buy parcels of land just east of U.S. 59 and the downtown business district, a move Mayor Bill White described Wednesday as a major step toward acquiring property for a possible home for the back-to-back Major League Soccer champions.
City officials declined to identify the location, but a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed reports that the parcels are in a six-block area between Texas and Walker avenues and Hutchins and Dowling streets, just southeast of Minute Maid Park near the northbound side of U.S. 59.
The Dynamo and parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group have been in negotiations with the city over the building of a 22,000-seat, open-air stadium since May.
Both parties said Wednesday that discussions are proceeding, with the city intending to have the team finance construction of the stadium, expected to cost $70 million to $80 million.
"It's not going to be done the way it was done with other stadiums, where the taxpayers picked up the tab," White said. "We're not going to do some special deal of giving a lot of money that could go to police or fire to a sports owner."
Reaching a deal for a stadium might not come as quickly.
Complicating negotiations is the possible sale of the Dynamo. A group that includes boxer Oscar De La Hoya is interested in buying the team from AEG, which wants to concentrate on its more profitable MLS outfit, the Los Angeles Galaxy.
While AEG's initial proposal called for the team to bear the brunt of the stadium's cost, De La Hoya's group might be pushing to have more public money go toward the project, something White has rejected.
"We will not do what Frisco and other communities have done, which is use large amounts of taxpayers funds to fund the construction of a stadium," White said.
White said that if the stadium deal falls through, the city could use the land, find a commercial developer or sell it.
"It's a good piece of property," he said.
If a stadium is built, tax receipts from concession sales and appreciation in adjacent real estate would benefit city coffers, White said. Though the city would pay to acquire parcels of land for the stadium, it also could sell or lease that land back to the Dynamo owners.
Echoing prior statements by MLS and AEG on the issue, Luck said a stadium is critical to the long-term economic success and viability of the Dynamo.