Community Sports

Hours before a Metro Council vote on a $30 million bonding measure to buy land for a planned soccer stadium and related development, the team and Metro government officials have amended the contract.

The plan originally locked Metro government into spending $30 million to buy land for the project. The team — Louisville City FC — committed to spending $45 million to build a stadium, and also pledged to lock in about $100 million in other private investment.

But that additional investment wasn’t guaranteed. As WFPL reported yesterday, Mike Mountjoy, part of the team’s 47-member ownership team, said it would be irresponsible to commit to delivering on that promise.

That worried some Metro Council members, who said it seemed Louisville taxpayers would be shouldering a disproportionate amount of the project’s investment — and risks.

Now, according to the Courier-Journal, the city and Louisville City FC have amended the agreement to address some of those concerns.

Here’s what it says:

Notwithstanding any provision to the entirity of this Agreement, should the LCFC ownership group not spend or cause to have spent $130,000,000.00, including the cost of stadium, on the Project from all sources, then, at the expiration of the 20 year term following the commencement date, if a balance exists from the purchase price of the property ($24,062,000.00) after subtracting the $14,500,000.00 reimbursement amount and the amount of local incremental taxes generated by activity on the property, then the LCFC owners shall guarantee payment of that balance. However, if the LCFC ownership group pays off the $14,500,000.00 reimbursement amount within a 10 year period following the commencement date, the prior sentence is null and void.

The plan was always for Louisville City FC to pay back Metro government $14.5 million for the city’s investment. Originally, that was over a 20-year period.

The contract amendment lays out multiple possible scenarios. One is that the soccer team pays back the $14.5 million over 10 years.

If Louisville City FC doesn’t do that, it commits to spend “or cause to have spent” $130 million on the project. That includes the $45 million the team has already committed to spend on building the stadium, which means they’re now locked into leveraging $85 million in private investment.

If that doesn’t happen, there’s another option. After 20 years, if Metro government still owes money on that initial land purchase (after the team pays its $14.5 million), the team’s owners promise to pay off that balance.

Clear as mud.

Disclosure: Louisville City FC is privately owned by 47 investors. Two of those, Gill Holland and José Donis, are Louisville Public Media board members.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Assignment Editor.