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Columbus Crew Reaches Deal To Purchase Land For Downtown Stadium

The Crew stadium sits inside a larger Confluence Village development.
Columbus Crew
The Crew stadium sits inside a larger Confluence Village development.

Just hours before a planned groundbreaking ceremony, the Columbus Crew have reached an agreement with Nationwide Realty Investors to purchase the land on which the new downtown stadium will sit.

The team announced the purchase in a joint statement Thursday morning, although it did not disclose the amount of money the land sold for. A Crew spokesman said at Thursday's groundbreaking that the purchase price was approximately $25.7 million.

“Columbus Crew SC and Nationwide Realty Investors are pleased to share that, as anticipated, all contract contingencies have been waived and the pending purchase of the land will close by the end of the month," the statement read. "Crew SC continues to have full access to the site, and remains on schedule for a summer 2021 opening in the new Arena District stadium.”

The site is the last remaining piece of undeveloped land in the Arena District. It's been under the control of Nationwide Realty Investors for the past two decades, and was originally slated as the location of Columbus' first casino. After that deal fell through, and the casino moved to the West Side, the space remained unoccupied.

The stadium willsit insidethe larger Confluence Village, a mixed-use development just west of Huntington Park. The total cost of the stadium is currently pegged at $300 million, with at least $50 million coming from the city of Columbus.

However, the Columbus Dispatch contendsthe public contribution is closer to $100 million after considering planned city expenditures on parking garages, power lines and other infrastructure improvements at the site. Mayor Andrew Ginther has denied that charge, although he wouldn't go into specifics.

City and team officials have said repeatedly over the last few months that the purchase of the land would be completed “very soon,” but declined to offer specific dates.

Haslam Sports Group vice president Ted Tywang said in June that the purchase deal was likely to be wrapped up in the next couple of weeks. He said that the Crew had access agreements to do remediation work on the land. Near the end of September, Columbus Crew chief business officer Steve Lyons said the land purchase was close to completion. On Wednesday, Ginther told WOSU he had full faith and confidence that the Crew "will figure something out."

The team expects to play in the new stadium in July 2021.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.