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Prospective Columbus Crew owners announce plans for downtown stadium

A new $230 million downtown soccer stadium is being proposed as the next home for the Columbus Crew.

Plans were unveiled on Thursday as the potential new ownership group, led by Cleveland Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, works toward taking over a franchise that appeared set on leaving town earlier this year.

The new Crew owners would invest $645 million into the project that would house the 20,000-seat stadium. The 33-acre site, adjacent to the downtown Arena District neighborhood, would include a riverfront park, 885 new residences and other business ventures.

Mapfre Stadium, the club's current home, would be remodeled into a practice facility with a community sports park built around it.

"To ensure the long-term success of Crew SC, and for the Club to remain in Columbus, a critical component of our discussions has been plans for a new stadium, as well as increased fan and corporate support," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. "We hope to see these essential elements finalized soon."

Columbus-based orthopedist Dr. Peter Edwards Jr. and his family are also part of the proposed ownership group as they and the Haslams look to keep the team in Columbus, its home since 1996.

"We are thrilled with the tremendous progress that has been achieved in this short period of time to keep the Crew in Columbus while creating a long-term plan that will greatly benefit the community," the Haslams and Edwards said in a joint statement. "The vision for a shared community sports park is especially exciting as the opportunity to more deeply engage Columbus youth with soccer and other sports is so valuable."

The Crew were facing a possible move to Austin, Texas, before the Haslams and Edwards began pursuing ownership.

Information from Reuters was used in this story.

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