Report: D.C. United, district move closer to securing stadium deal

D.C.UnitedFansProposedStadium (D.C.United)

By DAN KARELL

D.C. United is reportedly on the verge of passing through the latest road block in their quest to build a soccer-specific stadium.

According to a report in the Washington Post, District officials and D.C. United executives are very close to finalizing a stadium deal, one that began with an announcement more than 10 months ago to put the framework of the deal in place.

Despite missing a number of deadlines, opposition to the deal from some members of city council and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray losing the Democratic primary to Muriel Bowser, the deal is reportedly close to being settled, though future roadblocks still remain.

The report states that the deal ensures that the District will supply $150 million of the estimated $300 million project through “land infrastructure improvements” around Buzzard Point in southwestern Washington. D.C. United want to build a 20,000 seat soccer-specific stadium on a plot of land located just a few blocks southwest of Nationals Park, the home of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals.

D.C. United are expected to cover the costs of the stadium itself, estimated at $150 million, but will receive property and sales tax breaks. According to the report, D.C. United would hold a 30-year lease of the land from the District at no cost, with an option to extend. The team would also pay no sales or property taxes in the first five years of the deal.

After those first five years, United would pay 25 percent property tax and 50 percent sales tax for the next five years, followed by 50 percent property tax in year 10, 75 percent property tax in year 15, and full property tax starting in year 20. The team would have to pay full sales tax in year 10.

One snag in the deal that caused plenty of complications was a profit-sharing mechanism included in the original framework. Chief District negotiator Allen Lew negotiated a deal with D.C. United that took out profit sharing and replaced it with the sales tax payments and a future $2 surcharge on tickets.

Despite a deal close to being completed between D.C. United and the District, plenty of obstacles remain. The biggest is the land-swaps that the District is negotiating with the owners on the property at Buzzard Point, namely property developers Akridge, Pepco Holdings, and a piece of property with a Super Salvage scrap metal yard, owned by Mark Ein.

Lew, who has been negotiating to transfer over the Reeves Center municipal office building to Akridge, has threatened to use eminent domain to take control of the properties if a deal can’t be reached. The Washington Post report adds that Lew is expected to present city council with a package including the stadium deal and land transfers this week.

The potential transfer of the Reeves Center has drawn criticism from Bowser and council member Jim Graham. With Bowser likely to become the District’s next mayor, it’s likely in her hands as to whether the stadium deal and land swaps can go through.

If a stadium deal and land-swap agreements can be reached, the Washington Post estimates that the earliest D.C. United could begin play in the new stadium is 2017. D.C. United currently plays in aging RFK Stadium, and have been trying to build a new stadium for many years.

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103 Responses to Report: D.C. United, district move closer to securing stadium deal

  1. IndyElevenFan says:

    Thank goodness! As a long time DCU supporter this is very welcomed news – but as we almost always say – nothing is done until there are signatures on the dotted line.

    • Rory says:

      Good news…

      But that photo is so awfully poor a photoshop effort that I seriously wonder if a child made it on MS Paint…

      • Dainja says:

        Agreed. Looks like DC got a high-school intern who just started using Photoshop on this.

      • CeezNYRB says:

        I would love to see what you can do on MS Paint, much less a child. Lol

      • 407 says:

        That illustration is now so old that it was probably done on bleeding-edge Photoshop, c. 2007. That’s probably why it’s so simple looking.

        • Seriously says:

          I could have done better than that on PS prior to ’07 in my Graphic Design II class in high school… It is pretty poorly done for anything after the turn of the century by a professional firm.

    • Josh D says:

      As a DC fan since 96′, this is non-news to me. We’ve seemingly been here before. Until we break ground and sign official documents, I’ll treat this as more PR from DC to show “progress.”

      • Eric says:

        An announcement about an announcement will be made within 60-90 days.

      • Yankiboy says:

        Exactly what JD said. After the “PG United” debacle I won’t believe any deal until a shovel has gone into the ground and I see something actually being built that resembles a stadium…

    • sony says:

      No that sh*t again!

  2. bob says:

    Let’s finally get this done!

  3. MLSsnob says:

    I won’t hold my breath.

  4. Tony in Quakeland says:

    As a complete nuetral who has always admired the spirit of the crowds at DC United games, I really hope this comes through. They deserve it.

    Good luck!

  5. Jake says:

    Not sure there is anything actually new in the article… maybe just a new anonymous source who could be just about anyone. Hopeful, but doubtful that we are any closer than we were before this article came out.

    • FulhamDC says:

      The new part is the change in the agreement with the city on future revenues. The “revenue sharing” concept was a non-starter with the city council. That’s changed to what looks like a set payment of a certain amount per ticket, the $2 surcharge plus sales tickets, so the city gets a certain cash influx. Still, the land swap for the Reeves Center is still the biggest hurdle.

  6. curmudgeon says:

    I will believe it when I’m standing inside of it.

  7. froboy says:

    How many times will we be tortured with hope??

    • Seriously says:

      They should change the term “Sisyphean task” to “DC United task” at this point. I think it’s taking them longer to get a stadium than it has for Sisyphus to get his rock to stay on the mountain.

  8. bryan says:

    still crossing my fingers…

  9. Anyone named Muriel is clearly going to be opposed to anything sport related…

  10. JayAre says:

    DC really needs this stadium. It’ll do wonders for them just like it did for SKC.

  11. EW says:

    As a DC resident, I have only one problem with this stadium: location. First, getting people into and out of games is going to be a major problem. The site is a pretty long walk from the metro, and it’s on a narrow spit of land that will get really congested with traffic. The talk I heard about shuttling people from the metro to the stadium does not sound like a good solution. And heaven forbid DC United has a game on the same night as the Nationals, which already stretches the transportation options in the area, particularly the metro, beyond its reasonable limit.

    Secondly, the site is too close to nationals stadium to justify such a big loss of tax revenue in the name of urban renewal. That area is already benefiting from having nationals park nearby. The additional development push they’ll get from this smaller stadium is muted compared to what they’d get putting it somewhere else, and I’m not sure it’s worth the forgone income.

    Other DC residents have thoughts on this?

    • Jake says:

      What feasible location would you suggest?
      The walk won’t be that long. It’ll be longer than at RFK. They’ll keep games from happening on the same night too often I’m sure.

    • Mason says:

      Re: DCU vs Nats on Metro.
      I don’t think it’s that big of an issue. Soccer games are quicker than baseball.

      Let’s assume both games start at around 1905. Pre-game, the trains will be heavy, but people tend to dribble in in the hours ahead of time, so there won’t really be a crush. Nats games that start at 1905 won’t be over until after 2200. DCU is done by 2100, which gives WMATA about an hour to clear 20k (assuming all DCU fans metro) from its platforms. I suppose you could have a playoff game that goes into extra time and lets out at the same time as a baseball game ends. That would be bad, but that would probably only happen twice in a year, if that.

      • Tweaked says:

        Clearly you don’t use Metro. The system operates with zero logic, little coordination, and is prone to massive failures.

        • Matt says:

          Sounds like you’re talking about DC United. Zero logic, little coordination, massive failure…yup, that sums it up.

        • Mason says:

          The only thing worse than Metro is people who complain about Metro. I used to do Cleveland Park to Suitland every day, and it was always better than driving the same trip. My wife does Huntington to FCSW on her non-TW days and always makes it home on schedule. In two years we’ve never paid daycare late fees on account of Metro issues. I don’t always attend Nats or DCU matches, but when I do, I go Huntington to NY or S-A.

          An hour is plenty of time for WMATA to move 10-20k people through NY or Waterfront before a Nats game ends.

          • bryan says:

            as someone who commuted from Herndon to Union Station, i had every right to complain about Metro all i wanted.

            Metro bus from Herndon to West Falls Church. then orange line all the way into the city, switch to red at Metro Center and then take that to Union Station. normally that is 1.5 hours each way.

            sadly, at least half the time SOMETHING was wrong with the metro or bus schedule. it was so infuriating. much like if i were to actually drive that (which i couldn’t unless i did slug line because 66 into the city is all HOV during rush hour).

            point is, while Metro is actually a decent system as a whole, i feel like people who ride it daily are more than entitled to complain given how often something goes wrong and tacks on 30 minutes or more to your commute.

            • Mason says:

              Except it’s not half the time. You’re vastly overstating Metrorail abnormalities.

              FWIW, IDGAS about buses. They’re subject to the vagrancies of traffic and weather. That’s what you get for living in Herndon.

              • bryan says:

                no, i’m being serious 50% of the time there was a delay. absolutely. so stop discounting my experience because you don’t believe it. it happened. ask my wife.

                the buses were much more reliable but fair enough, ignore that.

                i do agree that is what i get for living in Herndon though. which is why i live in San Diego now.

              • Mason says:

                And I’m being serious: I don’t believe you, because it doesn’t jive with what I’ve seen. I lived in CP for three years while going to Foggy Bottom or Suitland every day and the delays were nowhere near that frequent. My wife typically handles daycare pickups. In the last two years, I’ve had to leave to rescue my daughter from daycare exactly twice, and one of those times was a jumper.

                Bascially: Confirmation bias.

              • bryan says:

                Mason – don’t ever take the orange line then. between the red and orange lines, there was an issue half the time. without a doubt.

              • Mason says:

                Cleveland Park is on the Red Line. Like I said: No problems.

                Your problem was with the Orange line, which has nothing to do with getting people in and out of Navy Yard or Waterfront.

              • bryan says:

                Mason – i never complained about Metro access to the stadium. the ONLY thing i commented on was that daily Metro riders have every right to complain. at least orange line riders going all the way (or almost all the way) to the end.

              • bryan says:

                either way, VRE was heaven compared to Metro. the ride from Burke to Union Station was a nice, relaxing 45 minutes.

            • fischy says:

              If you didn’t run into problems on the Red Line, it must’ve been years ago. That line has been awful since the accident. Delays are very frequent — either for scheduled repairs, or for the unscheduled event that seems to occur pretty frequently.

              • bryan says:

                was this supposed to be in response to me? i did run into problems.

                i remember that accident. i did that particular commute 2011-2012 so it was after the accident. i don’t know how many times at Metro Center i had to wait for a car that wasn’t JAMMED PACK and i’d say half the time there were delays so the platform was slammed. then it’s a free for all to get on before the doors shut.

    • terrance hall says:

      As a dc resident, it’s nationals park all over again. a big tax giveaway for billionaires and millionaires. this isn’t urban renewal, this is gentrification. they are giving away 200 million in land and tax breaks, money they could’ve used to develop the city, fix schools,affordable housing,etc. this is the nationals deal all over again.

      • Mason says:

        If you don’t like getting pushed out of the way by gentrification….
        Earn more money.

        • chicagoan in DC says:

          I really was under the impression this was the “smart kids” blog but after Mason’s comment, I wonder……

      • Matt says:

        That’s just plain wrong. The city bought the baseball stadium for the team at close to $700 million. In this deal, the city will only pay infrastructure costs, capped at $150 million, and the team will pay for the stadium. Could that money go to other places? Sure. But DC should make far more than $150 million over the life of the stadium from taxes, surcharges, and economic development.

      • bryan says:

        i’m almost positive affordable housing is a key component of this deal. the reason being gentrification was a huge talking point. of course, all that is in that immediate area right now are scrap yards anyway. so it’s not like DCU is tearing down affordable housing and putting in a stadium and more expensive housing.

        “money they could’ve used to develop the city, fix schools,affordable housing,etc.” – what money is being cut off? not much, if any. that’s the point. without the stadium, that land still brings in hardly anything. by building all this, in the long term, there will be money. in the short term? yes, there will be tax breaks all around. but as the article points out, eventually those breaks are faded out and DC starts collecting.

        right now i’d like to know how much the city is actually bringing in from those scrap yards. my guess is the revenue from the stadium will be more. so it’s not as simple as saying that DC is just giving away $200M. especially when most of that $150M isn’t even cash, it’s real estate.

        • Mason says:

          “Gentrification” is a dog-whistle word. Everyone knows that.

          That said, you’re right about the existing real estate. It’s crap, and can’t generate much in tax revenue. Not nearly as much as the combination of a redeveloped Revees Center on U and the Stadium would, in any case.

      • Yankiboy says:

        As stated by someone way smarter than I am–this is nowhere near close to what the Nats got–the Lerners got the sweetheart deal of deals. DC really took on a disproportionate amount of the expense of that stadium and the Lerners still weren’t satisfied and pressed for more…

        It’s not even “apples to oranges”. Your comparison is far off that I actually can’t think of anything crazy to compare it to.

        As far as “gentrification” goes, that’s kind of like arguing about religion; a lot depends on your own belief system and world view.

        As the article says and most of us living around here already knew: I’m not sure that DC united is going to have mayoral support now that Mr. Gray has been fired.

      • bk says:

        Yeah, that’s what this city and this country needs…more tax payer money given to over and underperforming government programs like education and “affordable housing.” It has worked so well! Lets do more of that…yes!

      • JoeW says:

        Absolutely not true–this is NOT a replay of what the Lerners got. They got a gift-wrapped $700 million stadium from the district. I opposed that. In this situation, DC doesn’t pay one penny of the stadium construction. DC pays for: water, sewer, roads, power, policing of the area. Those are things that have to be done for ANY development (be it a park, a hospital, a school, low-income housing, or a stadium).

        How is it possibly gentrification? Gentrification happens when you push out existing residents and price them out with higher cost development. Who are the residents right now of Buzzard Point (other than gangs, drug users and homeless)? There is no water or power there. The police don’t regularly patrol there. There are no roads there. Gentrification can’t happen if there is no existing development or structure to replace–the District is starting from scratch here.

        Here’s the deal: building the stadium will encourage some synergy with Nats Park and create some businesses (restaurants, some housing, water taxis, more transportation in to that area) which will aid in some job creation and further tax revenue. The property swap (Reeves Center) will create a commercial property which will ADD to the District’s tax rolls. This stadium deal only ADDS tax revenue, it doesn’t take it away. And we’re not even talking about what happens with RFK vacant (probably torn down and the Skins come in and build a big new stadium with their own money).

    • FulhamDC says:

      The conflict over the Nats and United having games at the same time is completely overblown. If you remember, the Nats and United played in the same stadium, RFK, for the Nats first 3 seasons in town. They managed to get all the games in with no conflict, I’m sure they can do it when the stadiums are close together.

      Also don’t agree that the walk is too far. The supporter culture at united is such that fans are at RFK 2 or 3 hours before game time. A 5 to 10 minute longer walk won’t change that. I also believe the Lerner’s will not pass up the chance to make some cash and open some of their lots for parking, so you’re looking at a crowd a little more than half the size of a Nats sell out coming to the same part of town.

      The bigger adjustment will be the supporters groups and the tailgate parties they throw for every match. I’m a member of one of the small groups, we could all gather on a street corner, but the eagles and the barra will have to figure something out.

      • Mason says:

        Judging by Google maps, the intersection of R, 1st, and Potomac is equidistant to Waterfront and Navy Yard. The Manhattan distance is eight blocks on both sides.

    • DCUPedro says:

      I live in the Navy Yard area near Nats Park, so I can shed some light on this.

      Despite the nay-saying about the baseball stadium, it has been an incredible boon to the area. That isn’t to say that it is the only factor (The Yards Development by Forest City, and the relocation of NAVSEA and DOT to the area have been huge too), but it is boom cranes as far as the eye can see right now. There are three 13 story high rises being completed within two blocks of where I live right now. Nat’s Park was definitely part of that tipping point. Property values are up over 20% in three years. That’s REAL growth. Its an explosion.

      BUT, you’re wrong that this growth means that the DCU stadium isn’t needed. I can’t tell you how big of an issue the SW/SE divide is in this ward. Despite being located on South Capitol Street, ALL of the development from Nats Park has occurred on the East side of the street (the SE quadrant of DC). The area four blocks east of South Capitol is booming, but the area literally across the street from South Capitol on the SW side is still a wasteland. This is because South Capitol Street itself presents a physical barrier to walkability and development, but its also because of the presence of the public housing the SW side. An anchor tennant is needed on the SW side to spur development in the neighborhood and create new affordable housing options. N, O, and P streets still resemble the rough and tumble that Navy Yard was before the Hope VI grant paved the way to clear out the Capper projects and replace them with affordable mixed-income developments in Capitol Quarter. 10 years later, that project was a success, but it was mostly a success because of anchors like DOT, NAVSEA, and mostly the Nationals.

      Come down to the area and walk around, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Walk along M street from 4th SE to 3rd SW. Then walk down 3rd SW to P, then take Potomac Ave to the Yards Park and back to 4th and M SE. That circle will take you from heaven to hell and back again (metaphorically speaking). You will see the need for something on the West Side of South Cap.

    • JoeW says:

      I am a NoVa resident but was a long-time DC resident. I’m fine with the location.

      1. It’s urban. Having been to the stadiums in Denver, Denver, and Chicago, I can tell you that a great stadium that isn’t in the city is tougher sledding for an MLS club. And what will happen is that transportation will develop. No, not a new metro stop. But all sorts of options will begin to occur once the stadium is up and running. You’ll see dedicated bus service. People will make it a point to get there earlier in order to tailgate. Water taxis. Verizon Center was criticized b/c there was so little parking and it was in a congested area. Instead, it’s worked out fine.
      2. I actually think being close to Nationals Park is a win-win. Yeah, there will be some hassles–Baltimore is a good example of M&T Stadium and Camden Yards. But it’s outweighed by the synergy. There are services that are more likely to develop when you have two stadia near each other than if there’s only one (restaurants, water taxis, dedicated bus lines, pedestrian paths and walk-ways, tail-gating and barbecue arrangements). Two games in one night…you get a lot more food trucks for instance.
      3. In terms of tax revenue, first of all, the existing land is producing NO tax revenue. What is likely to happen is: RFK gets razed and the Skins build a new stadium there (which is a huge plus for the city in terms of events….like big international soccer matches, bidding for a super bowl, # of events, etc.). Reeves Center becomes revenue generating (as a DC Govt facility it doesn’t). And with water and sewer going in to Buzzard Point, you get more development that happens around it. Let alone any businesses that develop b/c of the DCU stadium. This is about synergy where right now there is NO tax revenue (Reeves Center and Buzzard Point).

      • Mason says:

        Reeves actually cost the city money to operate and maintain.

        • Enos says:

          Reeves also generates no tax revenue because it’s city owned. Getting Reeves owned by private citizens will generate tons-o-more cash. Part of the city’s challenge is that the Feds own so much land that there can be no tax revenue. DC needs as much land as possible to be in private hands to generate cash.

        • JoeW says:

          D*mn you for bringing up that small point to all of the people insisting this is a bad deal for the city. ; )

  12. George says:

    Hopefully this is the last hurdle in DC United’s stadium journey.United is the league’s most successful club with four league titles and very loyal supporters.DC United supporter groups like,The Screaming Eagles,Barra Brava and La Norte helped pave the way for what is common now in many MLS stadiums.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      George, how is the summer intership, working for DCU, going ?

  13. Yusef says:

    Great news for DC United and the District. Hopefully that large investment east of the Anacostia River will help that tough neighborhood. That $150 MM price tag will balloon though, particularly with them not able to get started with construction any time soon. Should be a great project though.

  14. Matt says:

    Really, a badly misleading headline. It should read, “D.C. United, District move closer to finalizing stadium plan”…which is far different from securing a deal.

  15. Brian Hall says:

    So more corporate welfare. I am a soccer fan but I would never support a single taxpayer dime going to subsidize a sports owner. I was hoping DC would call MLS bluff. I don’t think MLS would relocate the team because it would alienate some of the national MLS fan base to see a historic team relocated, move a team out of a large media market, and create less demand for expansion teams.

    • Steve says:

      Investing in infrastructure is not “corporate welfare.” The long-term economic benefits, cultural benefits, and tax gains to the DC area will far outweigh a one-time investment of $150 million.

      Not everything is zero sum. The government is allowed to make rational decisions for long-term gain. We used to regularly do this in the US. We used to roll up our sleeves and just get *&%^ done. Now it’s all class warfare and screams of corporate welfare. Just build it already.

    • terrance hall says:

      great post….

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Don’t necessarily disagree with you, but commercial developments get this kind of a deal all the time, such as property tax breaks, reduced lease fees, etc. This type of development has just become political reality.

      If it becomes the anchor to revitialize an area and provides construction jobs (which translates into economic activity for the District) – is it really a bad deal?

      If you beleive that any agreement like this is wrong about any commercial redevelopment project, that’s one thing. If not, then it becomes a question of whther or not this can pay off for both sides. And on that, I have no idea. My cursory exmaination suggests this is not an unreasonable deal.

    • Mason says:

      The existing land is a scrapyard, a cement factory, and a decommissioned PEPCO plant.

      • DCUPedro says:

        Bingo.

      • kevino says:

        BUT BUT BUT THE BIG BAD CORPORATIONS WANT TO EMPLOY CONSTRUCTION WORKERS? WHY CANT YOU SEE THAT THE CITY NEEDS ITS PIECE OF THE ACTION.

        • Mason says:

          Do you have a Gadsen Flag on your wall and a tricorn hat in your closet?

          No matter…. My point was that the city’s tax revenue will increase once the stadium land and the Reeves Center at U&14 NW is redeveloped. The city will most definitely get its piece of the action, even if you do not consider the additional development that will happen around the stadium.

          This is a good thing.

    • kevino says:

      Hilarious how some people prefer taxes to building and jobs. As this mentality becomes more pervasive we will accelerate our decline.

      • Mason says:

        More jobs and more building begets a bigger tax base.

      • Brian Hall says:

        Spending money on a sports stadium is not an investment because the return is little to nothing. Construction jobs are a one time thing for a very small amount of people for a short period of time. A stadium is not infrastructure, airports improved roads faster internet all create efficiencies that improve the economy. You would be hard pressed to find a single academic study that says stadiums provide a positive economic impact.

        As for “urban revitilization” not to go all city planning here but stadiums don’t help in fact they can hinder. Owners will point to success stories such as Verizon Center in DC or Camden Yards in Baltimore. That area of DC was already improving thanks to the inertia of gentrification in DC and other factors like existent density and mass transportation. The waterfront in Baltimore is great but what about where the Orioles used to play? Why hasn’t the area around RFK developed?

        Actually stadiums can drive away development because the fire house of people can cause havoc in a neighborhood and be an inconvienance and neussanse to those who live nearby.

        If you want to buy the developers and owners talking points do so. But when your city is still paying bonds for the stadium 30 years later even after perhaps the team has moved to a new city don’t complain.

        People laugh at Russia and Qatar or spending so much, as a percentage of municipal budgets cities and counties spend even more. As for the fact they are only giving land, well that land clearly has value and proceeds from it sale could go to much better uses.

        I say let the fools in Landover build the stadium the seem to enjoying giving public money to the rich, Dan Snyder is still having a good laugh about it.

        • Mason says:

          The deal really has two sides: Potomac Avenue and the Reeves Center.

          Potomac Avenue is a wasteland. There is nothing there of any value. Like I said: It’s a scrap yard, a decommissioned power plant and a cement factory. Google street view also shows some boarded up buildings and busted railroad tracks. Having DCU build a stadium on it will improve the city’s taxbase immediately. The property tax rebates phase out in 25% increments at 5 year intervals. I’d wager that even at the first rebate expiration, the property tax income on the stadium would be more than what is already there. Probably a lot more.

          But…. you have to deal with the owners that are there. That’s where Reeves Center comes in. The Reeves Center is a excess government building at 14th and U. It costs the city money to operate and maintain, while no longer providing necessary services. Its value is being get the existing Potomac Ave holders to move. They will then pay to develop RC, and that will be taxable.

          To go all city plannning on you: If DC’s gentrification inertia is responsible for growth around VC and NS, then why is half st SW such a hole even though M & 2nd St SE is not?

          • Brian Hall says:

            Your entire focus is on property taxes. Basically you say the value of property will go up because the demand for people to live there will increase. Where will these people come from, other parts of DC? Northern Virginia? By your own theory then te property of the places where those people came from will decrease. So on a macro level there is no net gain just a transfer.

            Urban growth moves slowly, it took our country 40 years to destroy the urban cores and it will take decades to bring it back, public policy can influence that growth over time using precise planning. Building white elephants like stadiums doesn’t do it. LA live/Staples Center, the arena in KC, Cardinals stadium in phx. I have seen all of those first hand and not been impressed with the development. Yes there are some Chilis, World of Beers and Applebee’s but nothing close to a neighborhood that would encourage people to want to move in to.

            • Enos says:

              Brian, DC has increased it’s population nearly 200,000 people in the last 10 years. I don’t really care where they came from. They’re here and all indications are that they’re still coming. They’re also very young and are having babies. Have you seen the enrollments at DC city schools (public and charter)? They’re exploding. The city needs to attract investment in order to generate they money to provide city services.

              It’s a fools errand to think that things won’t change. That’s life, the world changes. You’re sounding like a DC resident who didn’t like all the change that was happening in the 40s and 50s.

            • fischy says:

              The Cardinals’ stadium isn’t in Phoenix. It’s in Glendale. The soccer stadium (if that’s what you mean) is barely in KC — within city borders — within the city, if you consider the land around a race track city land, but it would be surprising if anyone wanted to live there. And, LA is not DC — it’s the opposite problem — the outlier where most people prefer to live in the suburbs.

              Every situation is different.

        • fischy says:

          I don’t think “inertia” means what you think it means.

        • fischy says:

          RE Landover:

          FedEx Field was built by the Redskins. While $70 million was spent on infrastructure, there was no public money given tot he team. Since the infrastructure was needed on public access routes and hte like, this wasn’t something the Redskins could do themselves. The stadium? They built that themselves. Also, that was done years before Dan Snyder bought the team.

        • JoeW says:

          Brian, let’s assume that the stadium itself contributes little. Let’s do be clear–it’s on land that contributes NOTHING right now–no jobs, no tax revenue. If all the stadium does is create some part-time jobs and some temporary construction jobs and then some tax revenue, that’s a plus over what is happening now and in the foreseeable future. You argue that a stadium could hinder development–but there’s no development going on there now! None! And there hasn’t been for decades.

          Russia and Qatar? You just smashed your credibility on that one–you’re arguing that half the stadium cost will go to corrupt developers and govt officials? Or that Nepalese and Pakistani workers will be imported in which hundreds will die?

          What I believe will happen in this specific situation is:
          –businesses will crop up in this “stadium district” (with DCU and the Nats) b/c a critical mass starts to develop. Commercial bus services, water taxis, restaurants catering to sports crowds, hotels to put athletes next to the stadiums, professional lighting and sound companies that service concerts and special events.
          –there’s no infrastructure there now. If you put in water, sewer, power and roads, it raises the possibility of other businesses and residents/housing going in. Right now, there is ZERO chance of that happening. Unless you like living in a tent with no running water.

          One last thought: this is probably the only spot of land in the District where major development can occur and not have possible gentrification consequences. Usually the development vs. gentrification situation is a win-lose. You develop and you drive up revenue and force out retirees and original owners. You protect them…and you limit development. We’re talking a chunk of land here where the District has assumed that people would come a-running to develop and for decades, in boom or bust markets, no-one has been interested. Your arguments against the stadium just aren’t specific to this specific instance. This proposal is a win-win for the city. It gets development, it doesn’t produce gentrification (unless the development is so significant and widespread that the entire SE and Waterfront area is affected…something you claim is impossible). Oh, and DC United gets a home. And the District turns the Reeves Center into tax producing property. And RFK gets converted into something more profitable.

    • Enos says:

      I’m sure Brian was opposed to the O Street Market redevelopment, new Marriott Hotel, Convention Center, Whole Foods, and other public-private partnerships that got the city rolling. Money is just pouring into the city otherwise…

      • Brian Hall says:

        This comes from the Field of Schemes website which is probably a better place for this discussion: My favorite part, the one about cup-holders. We already had one fan on here asking if the supporters section is covered:

        The argument for the stadium is framed far too narrowly.
        1. Development. Always happens, except when it doesn’t, which is usually. Six years after Nats Park was built, the development is sparse–even with proximity to 8th/I and the Navy Yard. Compare it to the Department of Transportation, which looks pretty darn good by comparison.
        Now we’re going to build a soccer stadium FARTHER from Metro, used 1/4 of the time, but its going to “spur development.” Sure it is.
        2. Tax dollars. If the argument is about “tax dollars” I guess we need a line in the budget to get that. How about “public property”? Should public property be used/given away for private gain? When? On a project doubtful to spur development?
        Visit a typical European soccer stadium sometime. Most are owned by the team, many have been on a spot for over 100 years, and they are often absolute dumps. When they aren’t dumps, teams borrowed money to fix them, made them nice, and then charged people more. Anyone who complains about RFK should spend an afternoon at Anfield, Goodison Park, or any number of French and Italian stadiums. Sad to hear American sports fans can’t function without a cup holder.

        • DCUPedro says:

          This is so stupid. Development around the Nats stadium is not sparse. It is booming. Anyone who lives here will tell you that. When I go to my rooftop near New Jersey and M and I can see 6 tower cranes within three blocks, and there are 4 more high-density projects in the works.

  16. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    I have been so lucky to be in Seattle, so I am pulling for the DC fans, for sure.

    BUT, I can’t help to think that with a $90mm (+ Canada TV revenues) TV contract coming in, all of these SSS that are built with 20k as a max, will be obsolete very quickly.

    Can’t you just see a scenerio where half of the league ( more maybe ) is saying, I wish that we had a “real” stadium ( much bigger ), but an affordable one that no one wants anymore. Something that we could fix up. Like a Portland did, something with character and history.

    Meanwhile DC is moving to a 20k seat stadium….5-10 years too late.

    • terrance hall says:

      they first have to fill the 20k stadium and they need to improve the product before we talk about growth.

    • FulhamDC says:

      Providence Park only holds 20,000.

    • bk says:

      If done correctly, the design wont preclude the possibility of future expansion. Check out Boca Juniors stadium in Argentina for an example of a huge stadium on a very small footprint

    • fischy says:

      DCU’s attendance has been going down every year. They’re bleeding a fan base pretty rapidly. The thinking behind a 20k stadium would be to create demand for tickets — to fill the seats, even if the on-field product isn’t the best. The stadium plans clearly contemplate expansion to 24-25k…and I’d imagine the design would allow for another tier to be constructed, in case the franchise really takes off — which would avoid that obsolescence fear. One thing though — this is being built on a pretty narrow strip of land, so it will have to be pretty vertical, with a small footprint. That’s going to limit the number of seats.

    • JoeW says:

      20k seats–not a problem. It’s not an issue to add more seats. And with DCU leaving RFK, the assumption is that the Skins will seek to return to DC. RFK would be razed (it’s already got major safety issues), a new stadium built there. I hate stadium sharing (like in Seattle or New England), I prefer a stadium that is specific to the sport. But if, god forbid, DCU every had a season ticket base of 35k, it could always go with the new football stadium that will emerge in the shadows of RFK some in 2020-2025.

      And in the meantime, I’ve been going to DC United games since the league opened and only 2 seasons have I had season tickets. It’s never a problem to stroll up to the gate 30 minutes before game time and buy a ticket. That’s what happens when you have a stadium with 50k seats. And that’s why a stadium with 20k is great–it forces fans to commit (rather than wait and see what they feel like or what movies are showing an hour before game time). It makes tickets scarce. And than it becomes a hot ticket and is in-demand. And than TV and radio packages become more valuable. MLS will be truly successful (financially) NOT when people are playing in stadiums with 50k-70k seats. Most US pro sports teams don’t make money off of general admission tickets anyway…its luxury boxes and advertising rights and media packages. It will be truly successful when tickets are in-demand and hot. And that can happen with a 20k seat stadium or a 70k seat stadium. That’s when TV rights start to make money (that plus being in a big market), when merchandise is more valuable, when luxury boxes sell and have cache.

  17. Jim says:

    Will there be a roof over the supporters sections?

    • Mason says:

      Can they build it so that it bounces?

      • JoeW says:

        Kevin Payne said that the stadium design would (a) hold in sound (so that sounds like some kind of roof for the supporters section and (b) would have seating that would find a way to allow for bouncing. Payne is no longer with the team but my understanding is that the design hasn’t changed.

  18. ace frehley says:

    Good on them. Congrats.

  19. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    Just don’t make another galaxy, salt lake, Denver, Dallas, stadium :(
    Dc deserves a jewel of stadium like skc or red bull arena and hopefully DCs new owner helps more Dc than inter Milan. I read inter Milan is gonna spend lots of cash next season and dc gets nothing.
    If I was dc united, I would make their new owner open his wallet for a MLS 3.0 stadium, get real dps, fix the cartoon logo and especially go back to their real MLS uniforms.

    • fischy says:

      If I was dc united, I would make their new owner open his wallet….

      Umm, if you were DC United, you’d do whatever the new owners wanted, since they’re writing your paychecks.

      And, what are their “real” MLS uniforms? You mean the stripes across the front? You might want to run that by the jersey sponsor.

    • Cavan says:

      And we have a winner! /sarcasm

      What are you talking about with that comment? A stadium at Buzzard Point will be a jewel. I don’t think any fans care if it’s an inexpensive design like Crew Stadium or an expensive poured concrete facility like PPL Park or Red Bull Arena. As long as we can watch good soccer there, and it has the money-making amenities what will keep our team rather than it being relocated or contracted. It’s that simple.