$300M plan would build Tacoma soccer stadium, sports complex with public, private money

A $300 million project to create a soccer stadium, sports complex and more recreational fields in Tacoma is one step closer to happening.

Now it has a name: The Heidelberg Sports Complex.

Tacoma City Council, Metro Parks and project consultants discussed the results of a feasibility study at a study session on Tuesday.

The study, which was launched in December 2017, determined the project was financially feasible and had community support.

“It’s really exciting to be at this point and seeing the concept is feasible,” Tacoma Councilman Ryan Mello said at the meeting. “I’m excited we’re dreaming big.”

The project consists of three parts:

  • A 72,000-square-foot, 5,500-seat soccer stadium on the Cheney Stadium campus

  • A mixed use sports village

  • A multi-field sports complex

The study anticipates the project be both publicly and privately funded, but no funding avenue has been determined. Approximately $269 million in potential funding sources have been identified, with $52 million in private funding and not subject to voter approval.

The study pointed out that other sports venues, such as T-Mobile Park and Century Link Stadium, were created from public and private funds.

The study identified potential funding sources from:

  • Metro Parks
  • City of Tacoma
  • Pierce County
  • Tacoma Public Schools
  • New Market Tax credits
  • Public grants

The Heidelberg Sports Complex could bring 364 new full and part-time jobs, the study says.

New home for Tacoma Defiance & Reign FC

The new $60 million soccer stadium would be used as a venue for the Tacoma Defiance, a men’s soccer team formerly known as Seattle Sounders FC 2 that plays in the USL Championship league, and Reign FC, a women’s team formerly known as Seattle Reign FC that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League. Both teams moved to Cheney Stadium this year.

The proposed stadium would be located on the 34-acre Heidelberg/Davis complex owned by Metro Parks, adjacent to Foss High School. The idea is to have the stadium be publicly owned but privately operated by the Soccer Club of Tacoma.

The stadium is expected to attract 127,000 attendees annually.

The city also hopes the project will bring in more affordable housing units.

The mixed-use development aspect of the project is anticipated to include “520 units of multifamily housing across four buildings, as well as 70,000 SF of retail split between 55,000 SF at the ground floor of multifamily buildings and 15,000 SF in two standalone buildings adjacent to the future S2 Stadium,” the study stated.

8 recreational soccer fields

The multi-field sports complex part of the project would create eight synthetic-turf soccer fields and costs $34 million. The fields are are expected to bring in 451,000 participants annually.

The study identified property east of Tacoma Community College as a potential site for the fields.

The study shows aspects of the Heidelberg Sports Complex being completed as soon as 2021. Those dates are subject to change.

“I’m really excited for this new project and what it could mean for Tacoma,” Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards said.

The city says next steps would be to discuss a funding process and conduct extensive public outreach. Residents will have questions about cost of the project, Councilman Keith Blocker said.

“I don’t think any of us dispute having a stadium as an asset… but as council member (Chris) Beale mentioned, we have some serious problems in the city of Tacoma we’re trying to address,” he said.

MultiCare Health System plans to build a 60,000-square-foot clinic connecting to the new stadium to serve athletes and the community.

The city is eight years removed from a $30 million project to renovate Cheney Stadium.

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