CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Cleveland Browns are reportedly in talks to build a new $1 billion+ stadium during a myriad of other controversies, according to Cleveland.com.
According to NEOtrans real estate blogger Ken Prendergast, sources close to team owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam say the Browns want a covered stadium that would be a city-owned location closer to downtown Cleveland.
The $1 billion+ stadium would come at the taxpayers’ expense.
Peter John-Baptiste, the senior vice president of communications for the Browns, reportedly did not deny the plans for a new stadium but would not comment further on the matter.
The owners are reportedly unhappy with the stadium’s current condition.
John-Baptiste did confirm, however, that the Browns are conducting “…studies on what a new stadium could look like.”
The results of the study are expected sometime in 2023, but focus on renovating the current stadium, according to John-Baptiste.
“Our focus is on the lakefront. That’s the neighborhood we’re in, and that’s where we want to be,” John-Baptiste told NEOtrans in a phone interview.
The renovations to the current FirstEnergy stadium would also need public funding from taxpayers.
FirstEnergy Stadium was built in 1999 and cost $283 million.
This news come as the Browns are under fire for the name of the FirstEnergy Stadium after Cleveland City Council called for FirstEnergy to relinquish their naming rights because of the company’s admitted role in a bribery scheme.
The Browns, however, say they remain committed to the FirstEnergy name.
It also comes after the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson, who is being sued in civil court by 24 female massage therapists who allege sexual misconduct, and gave him a contract worth $230 million.
The NFL is reportedly pursuing a significant suspension for Watson in the coming season.
FirstEnergy stadium and the Browns have worked to redevelop Cleveland’s lakefront in the past.