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Article:MLS Expansion to Philly May Be in Trouble

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The Philadelphia MLS soccer franchise is slated to begin play in 2010. The franchise owners, Keystone Sports was recently quoted as saying : "I wish we could give you hard commitments today, but we’re not even sure the stadium is going to be built. If the markets tank next month, then we won’t build this thing. We’ll be out $15 million and everyone goes home.”

Aside from the obvious problems arising out of the recession and the markets, there are problems with the governmental authorities involved in the stadium deal, which is probably no big surprise to anyone who has ever followed a stadium project in the last decade or so. The stadium is to be built along the Chester, Pennsylvania waterfront and is to be a public/private hybrid project. The state is kicking in $47 million, Delaware County is putting in $30 million and the ownership group is supposed to come up with the balance of the projected $115 million stadium. The stadium is to be a portion of a $500 million project that would include a mix of office, residential and commercial space, which, of course, has run into market problems.

Whether the problems between the developers and the county can be ironed in time for construction to beat a further market downturn is certainly an open question at this point. This is probably good news for Portland and a few of the other cities vying for the next two expansion slots, as there may now be three openings.

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