Elk Grove Unveils Pro Soccer Stadium Plans; Will Seek Annexation of Grant Line Road Site

January 23, 2015 |

The City of Elk Grove will unveil the plans for its proposed soccer stadium and competitive fields at next Wednesday's Elk Grove City Council meeting.

According to a staff report prepared for the meeting, the proposed facility is estimated to cost between $105.1 and $117.7 million dollars with the stadium accounting for $43.7 million of the entire costs. Although the report said the city would seek unspecified private partnerships, the document did not detail how the facility would be financed.

In the past, Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis suggested the city could issue revenue bonds, which incur higher interest rates because they are higher risk. Under California law, revenue bonds do not require voter approval. 

Highlights of the facility include a 9,000 seat stadium, 12 full-sized and four practice soccer pitches. Other features includes parking for 3,000 cars and 15-acres without permanent structures to be used as a possible site for the Sacramento County Fair.

The report says the build-out of the stadium could be phased-in. Major League Soccer, which Mayor Gary Davis has doggedly pursued for an expansion franchise with former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, has long said they desire stadiums for expansion franchises in urban areas with seating for at least 20,000.

Although the report does not specifically address the city's widely-agreed upon slim chances of landing an expansion franchise, it noted that based on the number of registered youth soccer players in Elk Grove, the city and its consultants believe it could support clubs from the MLS or the fledgling North American Soccer League (NASL). The NASL currently has 11 teams with a league average attendance in 2014 of 5,619 for its Fall season and 5,267 for the Spring half season.

The proposed facility will be build on the 99-acre Grant Line Road site the city purchased last year. Because that site is outside current boundaries, the city said it will seek to annex the property through the sphere of influence (SOI) process with the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission. 

The report implied that the SOI application would be only for the 99-acre site, but did not categorically rule out annexation of nearby parcels. This site and nearby parcels were in the city's original SOI, but were dropped after an outcry from a coalition of environmentalist, agricultural interests, smart growth advocates and residents from Wilton over concerns of building residential neighborhoods in the environmentally sensitive flood plain of the Consumes River basin.   

According to the report, at this point in the planning process the project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, but would be subjected to a full environmental impact report should it proceed.

Wednesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m.

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It's baaaccckkk! said...

Piecemeal the SOI....what a novel idea!

Anonymous said...

I am disgusted that the council is trying to sneak the SOI through again.

Many people realized this was the probably ploy when that plot of land was acquired OUTSIDE the city boundaries. How predictable - and underhanded.

Anonymous said...

This is our cities "vision" of bringing JOBS to Elk Grove? Is this something that will attract many businesses & homebuyers to Elk Grove? Hardly think that would be the case...in fact would be a negative IMO. Just a hugh load on the backs of us taxpayers!

Now I'm all for a Sports Complex and Aquatics Center for our young, but these grandiose ideas the city comes up with should scare the h$*# out of every taxpayer in this city.

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I call a "good use" of a 100 acres. Willie Nelson is entertaining - MLS is practicing - cattle are roaming the fields - fertilizing the sod - kids playing soccer. Can't get much better than that!

Warren Buffet said...

This land grab outside of the city-limits is a smart-move from an economic standpoint.

The land was cheaper because it was not zoned for development and lacks infrastructure. Roadway improvements will be assisted by the Measure A tax extension,which is going to pass after the coordinated media blitzkreig by regional agencies is completed. The railway overcrossing on Grantline will be completed, and the award-winning Hwy 99 overpass is already in place.

Rocklin-Roseville-Lincoln are building a similar facility without debt, so the break-even ticket price for the EG facility may be much higher when the bond debt is considered. Let's hope the soccer families are willing to pay the ticket price needed to cover the debt plus operating expenses. Selling stadium naming rights could also increase revenue, such as "Grace Coffee- Roaster Field", or how about "Reynen and Bardis Stadium"?

Holding the County Fair at the site would certainly provide a reliable source of added revenue. This means competing with Cal Expo (i.e. undercutting) for the contract. Cal Expo is more centrally-located in the region, and was designed as an exposition from the outset. The Sacramento Republic soccer team has apparently committed to a stadium deal there, but if not, maybe that is the "prize-pig" the city is going after?

Regardless of all of the feasibility studies the city has commissioned, the bond underwrtiter is going to do their own due diligence to verify that the projected revenue will cover the bond debt. That makes me breathe a little easier, except that the "collateral" on revenue bonds is the General Fund budget of the city in case revenue at the facility falls short. However, there are countless examples of failed projects strewn across the country where local budgets are being drained having to subsidize losing projects.

Who are the winners in this deal? Potentially, all of us. This facility will now justify further expansion of the SOI and upzoning for development. This in turn will result in higher property tax revenue and sales tax revenue. Presumably, the city then uses this "extra" revenue to provide new services and facilities that make EG a better place to call home, which in turns adds to our home equity.

Now the downside risk: The development interests will continue to lobby for lower fees (in the name of economic development), and the gap between the true cost of servicing the new development and the actual revenue received, would create a deficit that the budget has to cover. Approving new development to pay for the impacts of previous developments under this scenario is like using a credit card to pay for another credit card. This scheme could continue until the SOI is built-out and there is no more fresh dirt to build on. The fiscal impact would obviously take years to materialize, but suffice it to say, our current city leaders would be long gone and enjoying their golden years! The builders? Well, they will have plenty of dirt in other areas to grab, so no big loss for them.

So what do the non-soccer or non-fair-going residents do when seeing this item on the agenda? Not much you can do. The vote will be very swift on this and it's not even listed as a public hearing item. To oppose this policy decision based on possible economic impacts is futile, given the lack of hard numbers to wrap your arms around. To oppose this policy decision based on a lack of interest in soccer or fairs, puts you at odds with the vocal minority and the land speculators who stand to make a lot of money. To oppose this project means having to convince at least three council members to vote No. Good luck with that!

So what do we do? As they say, time will tell whether the deal turns out to be a bust. I guess we have to take living in EG one year at a time, and keep the phone number to U-Haul on speed dial!

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

It seems like everyone scores on this, especially Mr. Hume.

Mayor Davis can claim his vision of building a world-class soccer facility is coming to fruition to feed his ego.

Mr. Hume can say he brought, or at least tried to bring the Sacramento County Fair to Elk Grove, thus helping preserve our agricultural heritage among all the RD-5 rooftops that will be sprouting up. Make no mistake, they will be sprouting up.

Mr. Hume can appease all the old line family property owners along Grant Line who have donated, albeit small amounts in comparison to the big money developers, to his campaign. They were dropped from the money grab when Davis, trying to appease some upset people, from the original SOI.

The developers really score on this too. They got the city to pay higher than market for the 99 acres, which benefits the adjacent land owners, thank you very much, but also paved the way to get the SOI approved without having to do anything more than fill up the coffers of the obedient council members. Business as usual.

On a side note, I suspect when the builders held their fund raiser for Mr. Ly on Thursday night, in between noshing on caviar and sipping Dom Perignon champagne, or perhaps their cups of Grace coffee, they were patting each other on the back of their Armani suits for their trickery
of Elk Grove residents.

Nice play by Mayor Davis and Mr. Hume. You both got what you desired. The purchase of the land got Mayor Davis the chance to fulfill his soccer stadium dream and Mr. Hume got the flood plain back in the SOI. Well played, really!

The losers, well that is the taxpayer and sadly, the environment. But as they say, two out of three ain't bad!

Anonymous said...

There is going to be a wide area around this stadium/soccer field complex where it will be difficult to sell and resell homes. To lives near a large, noisy sports area will turn homeowners away. Sell fast if you are within a couple of miles and get out while you can. The noise will keep your kids, and you, from sleeping, and the light pollution from nighttime events will spread for miles.
Environmental degradation will be significant.
The other citizens who do not live within proximity of this bad idea can breathe a sigh of relief, but noise and light pollution will harm the quiet suburban lifestyles of those living nearby. Bad, bad, bad.

Anonymous said...

What a dumpster fire!

Anonymous said...

Two different "Plans of Action". One from Mr. Detrick on land in Elk Grove and one from Mayor Davis on land in Sacramento. I call them "pie in the sky" schemes with a $100.+ million revenue bond attached to them.



Peppermint Patty said...

First it was the soccer kids, then the swimmers, followed by pet lovers and finally the vets. We are swinging back to the soccer kids with this. Have we forgot any other group the council can pander to? Oh yeah, lets get those man made lakes build so we can please all those yachting and water skiing enthusiast!

Anonymous said...

Seems our council has lost their way......not a word about bringing more JOBS to the city. The focus is now on Revenue Bonds! Why am I not surprised????

BTW...seems they have even forgotten what city the newly purchased land is in. Those photo opts seem to cease all reasoning.

Anonymous said...

You want a stadium, build a baseball stadium. There isn't a community stadium for high school age kids in the region. Add in tournament fields for youth teams. This is a baseball town, always has. Friday night showcase games for local powerhouse high schools would be a wonderful community tradition. Fraction of a cost than this pipe dream.

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