Work on Austin FC stadium halted as COVID-19 rips US apart


Group photograph of workers and employees of Austin FC Image: MLS

In a new and dangerous phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States has become the epicenter. Though Wuhan in China was ground zero, but, as things stand now, the novel coronavirus has ripped US apart. With new infections rising, it is being estimated that the respiratory disease illness may claim up to 200,000 lives in the US.

Though US have not declared a nationwide lockdown as yet, a sweeping stay-at-home order is in place at Austin in Texas. The city of Austin has ordered its residents to remain at home, while all non-essential businesses have been shut down which includes construction sites.

In such a scenario, work on Austin FC Stadium at McKalla Place in Texas, US, has also come to a grinding halt. The 20,500-capacity Austin FC Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium under construction in the North Burnet section of North Austin, Texas. It is expected to be the home of Austin FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team expected to start play in 2021.

Austin FC is a professional soccer franchise based in Austin, Texas. Austin FC will compete in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2021.

As of now, it is still not clear when work on the project will start and the construction machines will get back up and running. The current order is in effect until April 13 but, with the coronavirus scene spiralling out of control in the US, it is likely that measures would rather be tightened.

With majority of confirmed cases in Austin being people under the age group of 40, the virus is certainly spreading further.

Austin is among the cities in US which has ordered its citizens to stay at home. The Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler, has asked people to “remain in place of residence” while all non-essential businesses have been asked to stay shuttered.

In March-end, construction projects were also told to wrap up and abandon respective sites. Austin FC stopped work before deadline.

In US, the COVID-19 situation is getting worse by the day. Several States have imposed sweeping stay-at-home directives and more than 80 percent of Americans are under lockdown. To date, 4, 35, 160 coronavirus cases have been reported in the US with 14,797 deaths.

Austic FC Stadium

Construction of the new 20,000+ stadium at McKalla Place was officially launched on September 9, 2019. As of today the western upper stand is in place, as well as parts of the south end, including first roof trusses. Its scheduled delivery is expected early into the 2021 season, the first one to be played by Austin FC. The price tag of the facility stands at $225 million and has a planned opening in 2021.

The new football-specific stadium in Austin is being built along McKalla Place, in a post-industrial area, north of the center. It’s considered the most viable location throughout the metropolis, with 100,000 m2 of space available, enough to fit a 20,000-seat stadium and 1,000 parking spaces, accompanied by public green areas. Within a shouting distance, a parking space to accommodate 10,000 vehicles will come up, while public transport options include light rail and bus.

The renderings show preliminary concept, inspired by both the ‘European model’ and current trends in MLS Stadium designs. It is, therefore, not surprising that within the 20,118 seats there are 3,420 business seats (including 16 boxes, sideline seating, clubs, etc.) but also a single-tier supporter section for 3,772 people.

The north and east stands would have lower tier based on land slope, while two remaining sides would have infrastructure from field level, reaching as many as four floors. Outside of its football use, the stadium would also be able to hold concerts. Open-air events outside the ground might hold 500 to 2,000 people, while inside configurations range between 5,000 and 20,000 spectators.

The entirety would be funded entirely privately. Once delivered on public land, the stadium would be transferred to the municipality and leased by the tenant team.

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