Lynn Family Stadium

Lynn Family Stadium is a future soccer-specific stadium in the Butchertown neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, United States. Scheduled to open in 2020, it will initially host Louisville City FC of the USL Championship, and the following year will also become home to the National Women's Soccer League expansion franchise Proof Louisville FC. Construction started in June 2018; the venue will have 11,700 permanent seats, with expansion for up to 14,000 spectators.

Lynn Family Stadium
Under construction in August 2019
Address200 Cabel Street
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Coordinates38°15′34″N 85°43′55″W
OwnerLouisville City FC
OperatorAEG Facilities
TypeSoccer-specific stadium
Capacity11,700 (expandable to 14,000)
SurfaceBermuda grass
Construction
Broke groundJune 28, 2018
OpenedMarch 2020 (planned)
Construction cost$65 million
ArchitectHOK
General contractorMesser-Harmon JV
Tenants
Louisville City FC (USLC) (beginning 2020)
Proof Louisville FC (NWSL) (beginning 2021)

History

Planning and financing

Louisville City FC was founded in 2014 as the successor to Orlando City SC, which had moved to Major League Soccer (MLS) and left an open slot in USL Pro (later the USL Championship). The team began play in 2015 at Louisville Slugger Field, a minor league baseball park, but expressed interest in building a soccer-specific stadium after reaching attendance goals.[1] As part of the shared five-year arrangement at Slugger Field, Louisville City FC paid for minor renovations, including a retractable pitchers mound, and a rental fee of $5,000 per match.[2][3] The new team drew an average attendance of over 6,000 per match in their inaugural season, second among teams in the USL, but were unable to generate revenue as a secondary tenant at Slugger Field, which incurred unexpected expenses.[4]

In August 2015, high-level talks with Mayor Greg Fischer concerning stadium planning began as the club also explored bidding for an MLS franchise.[5] Louisville City FC owner Wayne Estopinal and Metro Councilman Dan Johnson proposed a site at Champions Park, a former country club northeast of downtown, for a stadium that would initially seat 10,000 spectators and expand to 20,000 for an MLS team.[6] The city government announced a stadium feasibility and financing study in January 2016, examining four sites in Louisville.[7] The study was completed in August and recommended a 10,000-seat stadium that would cost $30–50 million depending on the mix of public and private funds, but did not name potential sites.[8] The club appointed John Neance as chairman and operating manager in September 2016, with a focus on planning for the stadium. In a December interview with The Courier-Journal, he revealed that the club had been actively acquiring property at a proposed site and were negotiating a public–private partnership to fund the project.[9]

The club hired HOK as the architect for the stadium project, which would also include a mixed-use development with offices and retail, in January 2017.[10] On April 12, 2017, Louisville City FC announced its intention to build a 10,000-seat stadium on a 40-acre (16 ha) industrial site in the Butchertown neighborhood east of Downtown Louisville. The stadium and surrounding development would cost a total of $200 million to construct, including financing assistance from the state government.[11] In September, Mayor Fischer announced a $30 million financing plan from the city that would buy the necessary parcels at the stadium site and contribute to infrastructure improvements.[12] The financing plan was approved by the Metro Council the following month, along with an application to the state government for tax increment financing for the surrounding development.[13]

Property acquisition of the four parcels that comprise the stadium site was completed in November 2018 at a cost of $24.1 million.[14] The tax increment financing proposal was approved by the state government in May 2018, allowing for $21.7 million in financing over a 20-year period within a special district created by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.[15] The club was criticized by a councilmember during early planning for removing a homeless camp at the stadium site in February 2018; the club ownership donated funds to a homeless advocacy group to house the displaced residents in hotels for two months.[16]

Construction

The club and city government hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on June 28, 2018, which included the ownership group, Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, and Louisville mayor Greg Fischer. The stadium was originally estimated to cost $45 million but costs rose to $60–65 million at the time of the groundbreaking.[17] A joint venture of Messer Construction and Harmon Construction was selected as the general contractor for the stadium project in November 2018.[18] By May 2019, work on the roof structure was two-thirds complete and the lower levels of the stadium were in place.[19] The structural steel elements of the stadium were completed in July ahead of work on the grass surface, which was installed in September.[20][21]

Lynn Family Stadium is scheduled to open in March 2020. In October 2019, the National Women's Soccer League announced that it would award an expansion franchise to Louisville that would begin play at Lynn Family Stadium in 2021.[22] The following month saw the new NWSL team unveiled as Proof Louisville FC.[23]

Naming rights

On August 5, 2019, Louisville City FC announced that the stadium would be named Lynn Family Stadium for Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn, who had purchased the ten-year naming rights for an undisclosed amount. Dr. Lynn, an optometrist, owns the Louisville-area franchise of the national optical retailer Visionworks. The Lynns had also donated to the University of Louisville for construction of a collegiate soccer stadium named Dr. Mark & Cindy Lynn Stadium, which opened in 2014 and was designed by founding Louisville City FC owner Wayne Estopinal.[24]

Design

In its initial configuration, Lynn Family Stadium will have 11,700 seats, a Premier Club area with 250 seats, and 18 luxury suite boxes.[18] The stadium's total capacity will be 14,000 spectators with a safe standing area for supporters' groups and expandable to 20,000 with additional construction.[25] The stands will enclose three sides of the field, with the open end facing west towards the downtown bridges over the Ohio River; the open end will also have a 40-by-72.5-foot (12.2 by 22.1 m) video board made by Daktronics, one of eight digial displays at the stadium.[26][27] The playing surface is Bermuda grass sod that was grown in Indiana and is maintained with an underheating element.[28][29] HOK designed the stadium and drew inspiration from other venues, including Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.[30] The stadium will be managed by AEG Facilities.[31]

References

  1. Lintner, Jonathan (June 4, 2014). "Louisville City FC town's new team". The Courier-Journal. p. A1. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  2. Lintner, Jonathan (June 4, 2014). "Bats, soccer team avoid scheduling tangle". The Courier-Journal. p. A9. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  3. Sullivan, Tim (September 19, 2018). "Former LouCity FC owner's invention solves problem of pitcher's mound". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  4. Lintner, Jonathan (July 2, 2015). "Slugger means costly coexistence for LCFC, Bats". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  5. Lintner, Jonathan (August 24, 2015). "LCFC owner: 'Positive announcement' coming". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  6. Lintner, Jonathan (October 23, 2015). "Councilman, LCFC owner name desired stadium spot". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  7. Lintner, Jonathan (January 6, 2016). "Study to measure LCFC stadium feasibility". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  8. Lerner, Danielle (August 4, 2016). "Study: New stadium needed to grow LouCity FC". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  9. Karell, Daniel (December 23, 2016). "Q&A: John Neace on future of LouCity FC". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  10. Sayers, Justin; Lerner, Danielle (January 26, 2017). "LouCity commits to city with plan for stadium". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  11. Lerner, Danielle (April 12, 2017). "LouCity releases renderings for new stadium". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  12. Bailey, Phillip M. (September 22, 2017). "City to contribute $30M for new soccer stadium". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  13. Lerner, Danielle (October 26, 2017). "LouCity gets money to build soccer stadium". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  14. Lerner, Danielle (January 25, 2018). "LouCity stadium gets preliminary state approval". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  15. Lerner, Danielle (May 31, 2018). "State gives final OK for Louisville City FC soccer stadium financing". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  16. Bailey, Phillip M.; Lerner, Danielle (February 27, 2018). "Councilman: LouCity stadium put before homeless". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  17. Lerner, Danielle (June 28, 2018). "Louisville City FC breaks ground on new soccer stadium as costs rise". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  18. "Messer/Harmon JV to build Louisville City FC stadium" (Press release). Louisville City FC. November 27, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  19. Rivest, Sara (May 23, 2019). "LouCity FC construction on budget and on schedule". WAVE 3 News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  20. Ansari, Maira (July 10, 2019). "It's going up fast! Take a look inside the LouCity FC Stadium". WAVE 3 News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  21. Mann, David A. (September 27, 2019). "Grass rolled out at Louisville City FC's new stadium". Louisville Business First. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  22. "National Women's Soccer League announces expansion to Louisville in 2021" (Press release). National Women's Soccer League. October 22, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  23. Sullivan, Tim (November 12, 2019). "Louisville's NWSL expansion team has a name, and it's a nod to Kentucky's favorite spirit". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2019.
  24. Rimpson, Robert (August 5, 2019). "Louisville City FC announces the name of its new soccer stadium in Butchertown". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  25. "Louisville City releases a bold vision for its 2020 stadium" (Press release). Louisville City FC. March 20, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  26. Finley, Marty (December 3, 2019). "Plans unveiled for tech inside Lou City FC's new stadium". Louisville Business First. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  27. Leonard, Connie (March 13, 2019). "LouCity stadium taking shape as construction moves forward". WAVE 3 News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  28. Finley, Marty (July 10, 2019). "Inside look: Louisville City FC's new stadium hits a milestone". Louisville Business First. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  29. "Lynn Family Stadium's field getting installed this week" (Press release). Louisville City FC. September 26, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  30. Lerner, Danielle (December 8, 2017). "LouCity draws inspiration from these stadiums". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  31. Wise, John P. (April 9, 2019). "LouCity names new stadium management partner". WAVE 3 News. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
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