FC Cincinnati makes final offer to Cincinnati School Board
WEST END, Ohio (WKRC) - FC Cincinnati gave the Cincinnati School Board an ultimatum on Wednesday.
The club asked CPS to accept its final property tax offer or said it will build its $250 million stadium somewhere other than the West End.
FC Cincinnati gave the Cincinnati School Board until 5 p.m. to accept their last offer or they would move on. That deadline has passed and the school board did not accept the offer.
As you know, the team wants to build a new stadium behind Taft High School on the site of the current Stargel Stadium.
The team has options to buy a lot of other property around the school if the deal is approved.
Payments, in the form of several hundred thousand dollars, are due in the next week on those options and the team doesn't want to spend money on the land if they don't have a stadium deal.
In a harshly worded letter on Wednesday morning, FC Cincinnati made its last, best property tax offer to the schools: Double an offer that was rejected earlier this week and they gave a 5 p.m. deadline to accept it.
The school board hastily met in executive session Wednesday afternoon and agreed to get the attorneys together and work on an agreement. Neither side seems ready to budge.
“If CPS says no to an offer that would pay then 10 times what the status quo is, then clearly there's not a pathway to get it down in the West End,” said FC Cincinnati’s President and General Manager Jeff Berding.
“I think that the board took a careful deliberation and really took into consideration what FC is offering to be able to come back and say here's what we will accept. I think there has been movement but obviously there's been no final conclusion at this time,” said CPS Superintendent Laura Mitchell.
The school’s attorney sent a letter to FC Cincinnati's attorneys, outlining what they need to reach an agreement. It is far from what FC Cincinnati proposed.
Berding made it clear the $750,000 a year in taxes was their best offer.
Berding said on Wednesday that Oakley and Newport, Kentucky are viable options. He also said Newport city and school leadership have been receptive.
On Wednesday afternoon, Newport Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton said that he has not spoken to anyone from the team.
FC Cincinnati says it needs to have a stadium plan in place by the end of the month.
FC Cincinnati said Cincinnati Public Schools rejected its recent proposal to pay CPS $3.75 million over the first ten years the soccer club would be in the new stadium. A new stadium could go where Taft High School's Stargel Stadium is now located. FC Cincinnati would pay for its own $250 million facility, and pay to relocate Stargel nearby.
However, CPS rejected the initial proposal. Now, FC Cincinnati is offering $750,000 each year over the first ten years in the new stadium. FC Cincinnati would continue to pay a consistent annual amount afterward. FC Cincinnati said this offer is better than what CPS is currently receiving in annual property tax payments, which equals out to be about $700,000 over ten years. FC Cincinnati pointed out CPS gets no additional tax revenue if the club builds a stadium in Oakley or Newport.
FC Cincinnati is under the gun. The club said it must spend nearly one million dollars beginning at 5 p.m. on March 14 on real estate acquisition options for necessary site properties. It's promised that no housing will be taken for a new stadium.
FC Cincinnati said this is the last offer it can financially make. The club opened its books to the CPS treasurer to show its financials on March 12.
Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education called an emergency meeting for Wednesday to discuss the offer.
FCC is still waiting to learn whether it will join Major League Soccer.