Following announcements made in the Spring of 2018 for FC’s plans to move to the MLS in 2019, the team also announced that they would be building a new stadium. Much debate was held over where it would be from the suburb of Oakley, to the West End and even ideas of moving the team across the river to Newport. After much debate and city council speculation, civilians of the West End came to an agreement with FC to put the Stadium at the site of Willard Stargell Stadium, the now home of Cincinnati Public Schools football and soccer programs. On October 9th first designs were released for the new design.
The new stadium will be designed by Meis Architects and another company Elevar, based in Cincinnati. The first renderings estimate that the stadium’s capacity will be around 25,500 and 26,500, which will leave little to open seating as reports have estimated that nearly 18,000 season ticket holders intend to return for the new stadium.
The stadium’s design features a wrap around canopy roof, which will provide cover for all seating and will dual function by containing noise in the stadium. One very cool development of the canopy, as well as the stadium’s exterior facades, is that it features Ethylene Tetrafluoro-ethylene (ETFE) foil technology, allowing it to vary in color and pattern to be displayed on the translucent surface.
Another addition to the stadium will be the increased size of The Bailey’s seating section, FC’s diehard supporters. The new section will be located at the north end of the stadium and nearly double the current capacity of 1,700. Another designated section, the club level, will also increase by about two times as much.
There has also been a lot of backlash from the West End neighborhood leading up to the announcement, yet FC Cincinnati President and GM Jeff Berding “We’ve received tremendous support from the West End and the Design Committee and we believe we’re bringing a transformational stadium to Cincinnati” and that they “believe our West End stadium will be a catalyst for the neighborhood, but also help position Cincinnati as a ‘City on the Rise’ on both a national and international scale.”
While the news and technology is very exciting, this is simply the first of their four design stages. More adjustments and changes will be made over the next few months until concrete construction begins in 2019. The second stage will include more adjustments following another technical review on December 3rd. Actual construction of the stadium is scheduled for spring of 2019 and will take nearly two years as it’s scheduled to open in March of 2021.
The news of a new stadium is great for Cincinnati and their growing urban environment. With the progress being made for a new stadium in an ignored neighborhood of Cincinnati and admission to the MLS, FC will definitely provide a positive impact on the city economically and socially.