Make us your home page
Instagram

Soccer stadium in Hillsborough is group's goal

TAMPA — A group of private investors is looking to build an up-to-10,000-seat stadium in Hillsborough County that would be home to a professional soccer team and play host to other sporting events.

A formal announcement of the project is expected in coming days, said Lisa Brock, a spokeswoman for the investor-owner group, which she said includes local and out-of-town people.

Brock said the stadium would be home to a team from the United Soccer Leagues' First Division, which is its highest professional level. Tampa is the USL headquarters.

A representative of the league would not confirm whether Tampa has been selected for a soccer franchise and would not discuss the stadium plans.

"I can say that we have been and are actively working to help bring a USL professional soccer team back to the area," said Tim Holt, vice president and chief operating office for the league. "The area has a great history of supporting professional soccer. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of an existing, proper stadium."

Tampa has been home to both the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League and the Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer, the latter of which folded six years ago. But the teams played at Raymond James and Tampa stadiums, which had overly large seating capacities and where they could not collect money from concessions and parking.

The USL First Division has 11 teams, and the league has a requirement that the stadiums where its teams play have at least 5,000 seats. The teams play from April to October.

Brock said the group has a site for the stadium in northwestern Tampa.

However, Vin Marchetti, a lawyer representing the group who also sits on the Tampa Sports Authority, said several locations are being considered.

Marchetti said the group has paid for engineering and design work on what he described as a 6,000- to 10,000-seat stadium that could be built in phases.

He wouldn't confirm that a USL franchise will come with the stadium, but "the quality of the stadium would be suitable for professional as well as amateur events," Marchetti said.

The disclosure comes a day after Hillsborough County commissioners gave a preliminary nod to building a $15-million park complex of up to 30 soccer fields that could be used for amateur tournaments.

Commissioner Jim Norman initially proposed building a larger complex with a stadium for $40-million he said would generate enough money in rentals and sponsorships to pay for other park costs.

Critics said if the project was such a good idea someone in the private sector would be doing it and his fellow commissioners ultimately rejected it.

Norman said the new, privately funded stadium proposal could complement a public sports complex if it ultimately wins commission approval.

The sports complex could attract tournaments that include dozens if not hundreds of teams competing in soccer, lacrosse and other sports.

The victors could then play their championship games at the stadium.

Norman said he believes the Tampa Sports Commission, which lures other amateur sports events to the area, could serve as a booking agent for the stadium to keep it full when soccer is not played there.

Soccer players also could have camps and other events with children at the public complex.

But he said he will reserve judgment on the proposal until more of the details are disclosed.

Bill Varian can be reached at varian@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3387.

Soccer stadium in Hillsborough is group's goal 06/18/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 23, 2008 1:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  5. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]