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Dynamo Stadium funding almost secured

Another step forward for Dynamo Stadium.

Dynamo ownership has all but secured all of the financing needed for the construction of an $80-million soccer stadium just east of downtown and plans to break ground on the project as early as this fall.

“We have some I’s to dot and t’s to cross, but things are looking very favorable,” Dynamo president Oliver Luck said Tuesday. “It’s not a done deal, but the principal points have been agreed upon.”

Dynamo co-owners Anschutz Entertainment Group, Brener International and boxer/promoter Oscar De La Hoya have secured financing totalling about $20 million on behalf of the City of Houston and Harris County through Spanish bank BBVA/Compass.

The development clears the way for city council and commissioner’s court to put the stadium item on their respective agendas.

Both government entities have committed tax increment reinvestment zone revenue streams to the project provided the Dynamo could find a bank to provide financing up front, Luck said.

“We spent about three months talking to banks,” Luck said. “Given the economic climate, finding a bank was a challenge, so we are appreciative of BBVA/Compass.”

Dynamo ownership has pledged $55-60 million in private funding for the proposed 20,000 capacity facility stadium to be located near the intersection of Texas and Dowling, just east of downtown and U.S. 59.

KHOU has more.

[The Stadium] will seat 21,000 fans and will have around 35 suites.

The Dynamo say they hope to keep the average ticket price under $20.

Construction will begin in the fall and is expected to take about 18 months.

That would enable them to be in place for the 2011 season. If they’re really lucky, there will be a functioning light rail line with stops right in front by then. That may have to wait till 2012, however.

There are still hurdles to overcome – the money isn’t in hand yet, and the whole thing still needs Council approval and the TIRZ funding from Commissioners Court – but those pieces will likely fall into place. Of course, I thought things would be settled a year ago, so don’t go counting any chickens just yet.

UPDATE: Today’s version of this story indicates that Commissioners Court is still an obstacle.

Commissioner El Franco Lee, whose Precinct 1 would house most of the stadium, said no agreement is in place.

“There is nothing that I’m about to put on the agenda at all,” Lee said. “There’s nothing happening on that.”

[…]

Most of the stadium — to be located near the corner of Texas and Dowling, just east of downtown and U.S. 59 — falls in Lee’s precinct, while a smaller portion is in [Commissioner Sylvia] Garcia’s precinct.

Mark Seegers, a spokesman for Garcia, said a number of issues remain to be resolved, particularly involving the availability of affordable tickets for low-income families.

“Nothing is imminent in terms of this item appearing before Commissioners Court,” Seegers said.

These things can turn around quickly, but it’s clear the Dynamo still have their work cut out for them.

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