SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – When billionaire and lead investor Ron Burkle backed out of the expansion deal of a Major League Soccer team in Sacramento Friday, it left people wondering what would happen to the projects that were planned for the Railyards.
“The overall vision for the railyards is definitely set back a piece, if we don’t move forward with a major league stadium,” explained Sacramento Councilmember Jeff Harris, District 3.
Burkle and his group had planned to build a $300 million soccer stadium in the Railyards, which would include other big projects around the area. Burkle cited issues related to the pandemic for backing out of the deal.
Harris told FOX40 Sunday that while the MLS plan may not be moving forward at the moment, other planned projects in the Railyards are still good to go.
“The Kaiser hospital has broken ground, which is very exciting. It’s a $1 billion urban hospital,” Harris said. “The new Superior Court building has broken ground.”
But for soccer fans like John Nunan, who also owns the Sacramento Gold FC, they said they’re sad they won’t be able to see the stadium go up anytime soon.
“I was shocked but not surprised,” Nunan said. “I was looking forward to driving by there every week and watching the progress. I love watching big projects go up.”
Nunan said he felt like Burkle was missing an important quality as an investor in the city.
“Burkle, although he’s a California guy, not really a Sacramento guy,” Nunan said.
Harris said it’s frustrating that Burkle backed out and the future of the stadium is unknown at this point, but he assured his constituents that the city will try to find a replacement.
“We will look. Will we be successful? I can’t make any promises,” Harris said.
On Friday night, the Sacramento Republic FC posted a statement on their website that said, in part, the team understands the feelings of anger, disappointment and frustration and they will continue to serve and support its community.