Phoenix Rising Stadium Proposal Nearing “Turn-key” CompletionCredit: Aaron Blau

Phoenix Rising Stadium Proposal Nearing “Turn-key” Completion

In July, Phoenix Rising FC laid out details of its Major League Soccer stadium plan. Since then, meetings with the Solanna Group, which controls the real estate central to the plan, and MLS, as well as the involvement of additional consultants have brought the proposal even closer to completion. SoccerNation spoke with the club for the update.

Taking no chances with the selection of its stadium architect, the Phoenix ownership group has narrowed its candidates to three, and has put those three plans under intense scrutiny.

“We’re blown away by the architects,” said club Co-Chairman Brett Johnson.

An engineering firm has been retained to determine if the architectural plans for innovative desert cooling systems can indeed accomplish the task required: reducing the on-field temperature to MLS-standard wet-bulb measurements without a domed roof.

The plans are also being vetted by an independent construction company, which has been tasked with confirming cost estimates. The club has a plan in place with Goldman Sachs which would, upon notice of the MLS franchise, begin the process of securing the debt and equity which will privately finance 100% of stadium costs.

Perhaps just as important, the club held a productive meeting with the Solanna Group last Friday, hammering out the minutiae of a land lease to meet every request MLS has made in recent weeks. The ownership group is working together with the league in order to avoid surprises that could cost Phoenix a franchise award.

The club remains committed to the parcel of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community where Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex currently sits. About 75 acres of a possible 550 are currently under development, and the Solanna Group shares the club’s long-term vision for partnerships on multiple commercial, tourism, and entertainment projects.

Johnson said that he told MLS Commissioner Don Garber during All-Star week, “We’re working hard to give you the option to choose Phoenix.” The club plans to meet with MLS executives again in coming weeks to present its latest updates.

Phoenix Rising’s continued effort to finalize an airtight bid doesn’t have a catchy marketing slogan like Sacramento’s did, but the club is certainly trying to have a turn-key project to which MLS can feel good about saying “Yes.”

Johnson said, “We want to present something bulletproof to MLS. We want to be in a position to go to work.”


  • comment-avatar
    Seth 5 years

    Have they given any indication when they’ll decide on a rendering? With so many other expansion bids getting attention in the media, Phoenix seems to be getting overlooked. We need momentum and the front office doesn’t seem to be feeding into that.

    • comment-avatar
      Kyle Kepner 5 years

      The FO is in frequent contact with MLS, which is going to pick its franchises based on short- and long-term financial projections. Media momentum couldn’t possibly be less important.

      • comment-avatar
        Seth 5 years

        But with teams like FC Cincinnati making splashes, going deep in the Open Cup, it’s hard for me to see that as being irrelevant. All I’m saying is, with MLS’ push for better ratings and a greater public presence, I’m wanting PRFC to prove to the rest of the country Phoenix is capable of captivating an audience like we know they can. Stadium renderings and revolutionary cooling techniques do that.

        • comment-avatar
          Kyle Kepner 5 years

          I hear you. If you think the club should be putting more butts in seats, then that’s one thing. It’s not irrelevant, but it’s not important.

          And don’t forget that MLS is making the decision, and MLS is already privy to the stadium renderings, architectural and engineering specifics, lease agreements, financials, and all the other behind-the-scenes details that will factor into their decision. Whether those things are public or not will *not* figure into the decision.

          And if MLS wants ratings and visibility, they ought not go with a market half the size of Phoenix. Cincinnati’s optics are nice, but not even 12 Open Cup trophies can get 2 million more people to move there, which will be necessary for Cincinnati to be a more attractive market than Phoenix. If Detroit secures a parcel of land this decade, then they’re in too. Ditto for San Diego. If MLS wants to be there, they’ll be there.

        • comment-avatar
          Dike Anyiwo 5 years

          I hear ya Seth. San Diego has awesome renderings though and the FSI bid is no closer than any other. To Kyle’s point, there is more to the evaluation of a bid than what makes headline news, and while it certainly does feel better when you see your team winning games, going on cup runs and generally crushing it in the media, in the grand scheme of things there are other variables that weigh more heavily than public opinion.