|Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer|
(Courtesy of Orlando City Soccer Club)
As Orlando City players, officials, and supporters gathered at City Hall Plaza today for a noontime pep rally for the team I couldn't help but notice how Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was (again) front and center for the proceedings.
If you caught our stadium update article last week you know that OCSC officials and Mayor Dyer are comfortable bed-fellows in the effort to bring Major League Soccer to Orlando. The last piece of the puzzle, most would assume, is the formal announcement of plans for a soccer-specific, MLS-ready stadium in the downtown area.
Earlier this week, Mayor Dyer and team officials were suppose to travel to Kansas City to tour Livestrong Sporting Park and meet with MLS officials to discuss their stadium plans. Several of you have emailed asking how the trip went and was there anymore news on the stadium.
The interesting news I have been able to piece together is that the trip may not have been strictly for a tour of Sporting KC's stadium. While the company nor team officials would confirm it, rumor has it that stadium design firm Populous was also one of the stops on the trip to the Midwest.
While team president Phil Rawlins told me several months ago that they had been working on stadium plans with several design groups, the point in plan development now would lead me to believe they have zeroed in on single design and it makes sense that it would be Populous.
Populous is based in Kansas City (ironic), and they have designed several recent MLS stadiums including Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium (visited by Orlando City two weeks ago) and Sporting KC's Livestrong Sporting Park. It would make further sense to go with the company that designed Houston's cost-effective $95M stadium that Orlando is using as a model for their own stadium, not necessarily in look but at least in construction and cost saving measures.
So what does Populous and Mayor Dyer have in common? Well they already have a fairly close working relationship in the last few years. You see, the Amway Center, the $480M arena owned by the City of Orlando and home to the Magic was also designed by Populous.
My guess, and again this is just a guess, that the meeting in Kansas City was a design review meeting of either 60% or 90% plans for the new stadium. If the site is still up in the air the meeting was likely 60%, if the site is selected the plans could be a 90% review. The bottom line is Mayor Dyer is a vital part in the effort to build a new soccer-specific stadium in Orlando, so if mother nature gets in the way you re-schedule the meeting.