Optimism surrounds D.C. United after stadium announcement

DCUStadiumRendering

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

After years and years of waiting for a new home in ancient, oversized RFK Stadium, there seems to be good news ahead during a troublesome season for D.C. United.

On Thursday, the city and D.C. United took what head coach and former player Ben Olsen called “a huge first step” in giving the club a soccer-specific stadium in the nation’s capital.

The club and Mayor Vincent C. Gray officially announced plans to build a new stadium for D.C. United in the Buzzard Point area located in the Southwest part of the city. The stadium is scheduled to be completed for the 2016 season.

“We are proud to say that D.C. United has achieved a major milestone towards establishing a permanent, state-of-the-art home in Washington, D.C.,”┬ásaid Jason Levein, one of the three owners who bought the club 12 months ago. “This is a significant step forward, and we are going to continue to work diligently and collaboratively with the Mayor’s office and the D.C. Council to expedite this process and make this stadium a reality.”

The stadium was described by Gray as a linchpin in the city’s revitalization efforts of the riverfront area. It will be located adjacent to the Fort McNair Army base and a few blocks west of Nationals Park, the home of the city’s Major League Baseball franchise.

“The new soccer stadium is the final piece in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative puzzle that, when complete will create the most vibrant and sustainable sports-and-retail district in America,” Gray said.

The plans for a new stadium hinge on a complicated series of land swaps from the city that would include the relocation of the Frank D. Reeves Center, a major city government building that houses thousands of employees. The swaps will be the bulk of the taxpayers’ estimated $150 million contribution—one-fourth of the city’s bill for Nationals Park.

D.C. United will cover the construction costs for the stadium, which are also estimated at $150 million.

“I see (the stadium plans) as a strong economic engine for this city, and I would definitely have to be for that,” D.C. City Councilwoman Anita Bonds said. “The stadium is a unique way for the city to get some of the things we need to continue growth and development. I love the idea of this land swap.”

These plans come as exciting news for local fans of DCU. In the past, the club has looked at relocating to Baltimore and another location in the state of Maryland, but those plans fell through.

But with all the optimism surrounding Thursday’s announcement, there comes some reluctance. One man that knows all about DCU’s previous stadium drama is Olsen, who has been with the club as a player and a coach since 1998.

“I’m trying to keep it in perspective for a moment because we’ve gone down this road several times,” Olsen said. “But it’s a huge first step—a huge first step with the District of Columbia. For me, as a resident of D.C. who has fallen in love with this city and this team, it’s a big deal.

“There’s nowhere else this team needs to be. I love this area and this city. I believe in what they’re doing here. I believe in this revitalization process, and I can’t wait to see it happen here one day.”

———-

What do you think about this news? Excited to see D.C. United staying in the nation’s capital? Holding back your expectations along with Olsen?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- D.C. United. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Optimism surrounds D.C. United after stadium announcement

  1. Beto says:

    I like the comceptual design there, a lot of reasons to be excited about this one

  2. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Really hope it works out for some of the most passionate fans in the league. (And I hope the hard core think this is the right place for the stadium.)

    • elgringorico says:

      The hardcore will go anywhere for the team, but this location is best because it is much closer tfor the average fan from the VA suburbs, and super metro accessible. This is a really good location.

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        I guess that’s why they are hard core.

        Any issues with the baseball stadium proximity? Will they have to coordinate schedules?

        • Jeremy says:

          Not necessarily. It will depend on how heavily they rely on the parking around the baseball stadium which is still to be determined. Otherwise, there doesn’t seem to be an issue Metro wise either.

    • JoeW says:

      This is a REALLY good location…on a couple of levels.
      1. A truly urban stadium. Not like Frisco. Or Commerce City. Some people will be able to walk to this. Or take a taxi of less than $20. Many will Metro.
      2. For an urban location in a developed area where land is a premium it: isn’t a really bad crime area, isn’t a toxic dump, it’s away from major transportation arteries.
      3. Close to Nationals Park will a few times be an issue. Otherwise it will provide parking for those willing to walk 3 blocks. And it will provide some synergy to help boost bars and sports grills that have trouble making it work with just one stadium (but add a second and maybe you get critical mass).
      4. It’s near the waterfront. As that develops, some people will be able to take a water taxi to get to the game. You could be in Alexandria…or the National Harbor….and get to and from the game by boat. How cool is that?

      • g-dub says:

        Good points. I’m not from DC, but I love that this is an urban stadium and part of a sports & entertainment district. That’s the secret sauce for MLS. Make it happen Barra Brava. Pack Council hearings – write letters – whatever it takes.

  3. byob el paso tx says:

    If it took this long to get it done, now make it worth it. No more cookie cutter stadiums and no half roof cover or stage with a roof cover. For example, dynamo stadium is really nice, but why put a roof stage cover, when you can cover it all. For teams like rapids, tfc,galaxy, fc dallas and chicago did it for the league and the growth of soccer, but now the new stadiums have to be at SKC park and red bull arena level. In reality, North America has crazy summers and winters, so a full roof cover is needed no matter what, and what if one day MLS goes FIFA calendar. Now Kraft has 100% pressure and hopefully he wont make a bad decision and get eyes on inner boston if possible and rebrand.
    Top 5 SSS in MLS=
    SKC
    Red Bull
    Timbers
    Rio Tinto
    Stub Hub Center
    Teams in need of new stadium or remodeling = Columbus, TFC, New England, Chivas USA. Seattle should call that money head who wants to make 600$million arena and ask for a soccer stadium instead. Most of MLS stadiums look alike, so the making the top 5 list is simple and easy to make :)

    • slowleftarm says:

      As always – total nonsense

      • el paso tx says:

        Then which are your top 5 mls sss :) or u love them all. Unions stadium needs a roof cover like the primary design and tfc looks like my high school stadium. I just wonder when will fc dallas play a game at cowboys.stadium. Someone call jerry jones

        • Tim in Dallas says:

          Did you watch the Gold Cup games in Dallas? Jerry’s World is NOT the answer for a soccer stadium in Dallas.

          FCD has an 11% growth in attendance this year, averaging just over 15k – not bad in a 21-22k stadium.

          Many don’t realize that up until last year, there wasn’t even highway access straight to the stadium! 121 and DNT are now connected and have easy access. FCD has also taken a huge step for traveling fans, they are providing bus transport to the stadium from a few select points in the metro area.

          Dan Hunt has mentioned several times recently there are talks of raising the roof line on the west side of the stadium to provide sun coverage. Currently, anything before an 8pm kickoff the east seats are blinded and melted by the sun. A half roof structure seen at many other stadiums would solve a huge sun issue at FCDS.

    • AgentJ says:

      I don’t think that the 500 million dollars penciled for the Seattle arena would cover the building Seattle would want to build for soccer. In 30 years I could see the Sounders moving into their own digs, but Centurylink Field is world class right now (for Football AND Soccer).

    • Cairo says:

      Hmm, Portland is given credit foe a soccer specific stadium, but its a converted baseball stadium. Manehile the Clink was built with soccer in mind, but does not get credit. I get it, you hare turf and are jealous of Seattle’s support–but don’t be dumb…

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Hmmm, Portland’s field rocks, not matter how it began life. The location, the size, the atmosphere. And it is unequivocally now a SSS

      • Quen047 says:

        Not exactly. It was never really a proper baseball stadium to begin with. Jeld-Wen was originally designed for football and greyhound racing. Baseball came much later, which is why converting it back to exclusive rectagle-field use was pretty easy.

      • Kejsare says:

        It was 30 years before baseball was played in the stadium. It’s just that there was an attempt to make the stadium more friendly for baseball, i.e. there were no behind the plate seats or good dugouts until 2000 and this was after baseball having come and left 3 times over already.

  4. elgringorico says:

    FINALLY! REJOICE!

  5. bryan says:

    keeping my fingers crossed.

  6. Tim F. says:

    I think they should have seats surrounding all four sides of the field.

  7. AzTeXan says:

    How is there only 11 comments on this blog?

    PS Nice job DC, you fukcing wankers.

  8. Mister JC says:

    It’s been a long time coming. I wish D.C. United all the fortune they need to see this through to completion…

  9. ThaDeuce says:

    150k is a lot to put on d.c.’s small tax base, other than that, it’s great news. Oh, don’t give me the baseball comparisons and with other stadiums, money is money, and it doesn’t grown on trees : )

  10. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Ecstatic! Owner says he’s keeping bouncy stands. Very important. I think we will need a new VA based supporters club so we can have an excuse to party-boat across the river to the stadium