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D.C. stadium study delayed further by City Council chairman

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

By DAN KARELL

The proposal for a new soccer-specific stadium in Washington D.C. is facing further delays as the nation prepares for election day.

D.C. City Council chairman Phil Mendelson reportedly decided on Monday to delay the release of a study on the financial risks of the stadium project until Wednesday, Nov. 5, the day after election day. The study was due to be released on Tuesday at a City Council hearing, and a number of the council members and candidates were waiting on the findings of the story before giving their take on the stadium proposal.

The Washington Post reported that Mendelson, who is critical of some aspects of the stadium proposal, including the potential land-swaps that would see the Reeves Center transferred to private ownership,  wasn’t even sure if the study’s findings would be released in time for election day before voters go to the polls.

In the meantime, the delay increases the likelihood that the proposal won’t be approved before City Council adjourns in December, with the new City Council set to begin in January.

Mayor Vincent Gray, who proposed the stadium plan in 2013, lost in the Democratic primary in April and will not be involved in the next session of City Council, hurting the proposal’s chances of being approved.

The stadium proposal calls for a “complex series of land-swaps” with real estate company Akridge and other businesses who are currently on land a few blocks south of Nationals Park at Buzzard Point. D.C. United would pay approximately $140 million for the 20,000 seat stadium, and would also be given tax breaks from the city for the first 15 years of the stadium’s existence. Taxpayers would contribute $120 million in the land-swaps and other infrastructure improvements in the area.

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What do you think of this development? Confident that the stadium proposal will still be approved by December? Think this could be the end of the proposal?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Good move by the city council letting this dog of a deal die. Funny thing is that the United’s fans are so blinded by the desire for a stadium that they’re blind to what a terrible location that’s being proposed, worse than FedEx. Very limited parking, just about all of the Nats lots are on the far side of the ballpark, one main road in from the highways, and a long walk from Metro. Worst of all this spot would kill the tailgating scene.

    With 17-20 home games and terrible attendance (the published numbers are highly inflated), the United won’t bring in a fraction of the tax base to make up for the cost of the land acquisition and preparation that is being asked of the city. DCFPI supports a stadium deal at a reasonable cost to the city, they have the most reasonable take on the stadium that I’ve read to date: http://www.dcfpi.org/the-key-steps-to-a-soccer-stadium-deal-that-is-good-for-dc-residents

    The #1 reason to let this deal die is that the United’s ownership group is foreign based and shady. They recently had to buy out a partner from Indonesia who bought into the team using embezzled funds, refusing to admit to his ownership stake until after it was disclosed in the media. Even after that crook was removed from the group they still won’t disclose the full list of team owners to the city. None of these guys have any ties to DC, they bought the United with the single goal of attaining public assistance for a stadium, lining their wallets. DC should insist on local ownership for the team prior to any further discussions on land deals.

    One last thing, don’t buy into the threats to leave town. Move to Baltimore? Away from the wealth of DC and their fan base in Northern Virginia? Go ahead. DC/VA would get an expansion team in half a decade.

    Reply
    • I thought dc united owners were serious about the team and future, or did everything go bye bye once they bought inter Milan.
      If I was messi or jozy, I would consider joining dc united as a DP, it’s Washington, D.C. A very powerful capital and I can picture Obama with his family in the new stadium watching soccer from the capital suite and how sweet would it be to have 3 top dps.

      Reply
      • Ignore Powerboater – he’s a long time troll who just hates soccer and uses every opportunity to trash the sport and DC United. Almost everything in his post in incorrect.

    • You found your way here? Did you get your WaPo account suspended for being aggressively ignorant? That takes work.

      Do everyone a favor and crash into the WWB.

      Reply
  2. I would prefer if the rendering showed a lot of drunk guys in their 20s and 30s. The “family friendly” atmosphere is so boring. We live in such a freakin PC society that I wish MLS games were a place to get drunk and cuss with your friends. Everything has been so wimpified in this country.

    Reply
    • Agreed. Although this one really is fascinating. The Photoshop work is among the poorest I’ve seen in a decade, and it’s not realy clear what many of these people are doing, particularly the random black dude near the middle who taking a photo of….[who knows?]

      And why are so many people leaving?

      Reply
  3. Can remember what it felt like to be treated like a 3rd rate citizen and having to wait for years for what finally became Red Bull Arena. Seems wait for DC stadium threatens to take twice as long. Part of me cares nothing, regardless if it impacts MLS as a whole or not. More concerned with the inane rules and undisclosed management practices of this league. Suffer away DC. But part of me sympathizes, wouldn’t wish that anguish of waiting and being let down wash rinse repeat and repeat and repeat on anyone. Supporting my team does that plenty on it’s own. Waiting for a stadium too? Much as I seem to like my abusive relationship, don’t think I could’ve hung this long. Respect.

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  4. Doesn’t DC have the most MLS Cups? It’s a real shame. They deserve a SSS more than anyone. And that’s coming from a NYRB fan. Soccercare, anyone?

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  5. It’s politics as usual in DC. Phil Mendelson, the Council Chair, has been critical of the deal from the beginning, and this is his study. Mendelson himself:

    Hand picked the firm to do it.
    Deliberately limited the scope of the study to ten years (most stadium studies are done over 30)
    Placed his long time girlfriend on the board to review the study
    And has seen it already, possibly as long as two weeks ago, and it clearly doesn’t say what he wants it to say.

    So he’ll throw it in a drawer for a while.

    Reply
  6. Seriously though, although I joke about this situation, I really would like to see DCU be able to build their new stadium in this proposed location and the years of delay their fans have had to put up with is garbage. Hopefully, this is just a small bump in the road and not another major detour.

    Reply
  7. redskins will get their new stadium once dc united gets theirs and NFL is always ahead of MLS, nothing new in the sports world in the U.S.
    However, why doesnt baltimore have NASL or USLPro.

    Reply
  8. Couldn’t they just revamp RFK? I know it’s a dump but it would probably be easier than finding a new place to build an entirely new stadium…right?

    Reply
    • with an act of Congress, yes. but that’s not gonna happen and that alone makes re-vamping RFK the most difficult option. plus, Snyder wants to bring his NFL team back to that site and probably the only team capable of lobbying Congress.

      Reply
    • That’s what I say. They are giong to build a 20k stadium, when MLS is averaging 19k now, 5 year from now. They will have played in RFK the whole time, finally move and they will want 30k stadium within days. Back to this moment for another 10 years.

      Man where can you find a stadium in a great spot that will fit as many as you want ?
      If only they had that.

      ps. the other tenant is…..the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic
      The place is worthless without DCU.

      Reply
      • Have you been to RFK? The place is a rancid hellhole and no amount of “renovation” short of tearing it down will suffice.

      • I will butt out….but before I do. It is still the best situation they have, they will be there for a while still.

        And I am stil guessing at the end of it all, they will need a bigger stadium to compete with the rest of MLS.

      • You’re missing the point. DC United is losing tons of money because they have to play at RFK. They simply can’t afford to stay there much longer. This is most likely the last shot at a new stadium, and if it doesn’t go though there won’t be a DC United any more.

      • A grisly thought, but if I was a betting man, I would put handsome money on mother nature playing her hand first. I saw my first United game in over 5 years a month back and I could not believe just how much worse RFK has become in such a short period of time.

        I fully suspect someone will get seriously injured or even die from a piece of falling concrete before United is moved out.

        To be honest, with some of the photos and stories that started coming about the falling concrete a few years back, I am surprise no one has been hurt to this point.

    • No, they can’t. RFK is all poured concrete. It would be cheaper to tear it down and rebuild it than the renovate it. It requires an Act of Congress to be allowed to do it.

      We aren’t idiots here in Washington, D.C. If you have any new genius idea, chances are that we’ve already explored that avenue ten years ago and already know why your genius idea won’t work.

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    • No. It would be cheaper to build a new stadium then to remodel RFK. There are trees growing in cracks the upper deck. It’s like some “After Humanity” dystopia up there.

      Reply
  9. Breathe. It’s being postponed until after the election in order to separate it from stump speeches. It’s also being postponed to allow the councilmembers and mayoral candidates to have time to make those stump speeches.

    Reply
    • It’s being postponed to a point where the Mayor, the biggest supporter of the project, will be a complete lame duck.
      This is a big deal.

      Reply
      • Unfortunately I have to agree. This is a big deal. As have oft been sighed by commentators on the WaPo site…zzzzzzzz…wake me up when a shovel hits the dirt.

  10. this is so insane. this is all being held up because of the BS surrounding the value of the Reeves Center. this has the best breakdown of the situation:

    http://www.blackandredunited.com/2014/10/25/7070895/the-185-million-reeves-center-argument-against-the-dc-united-stadium

    essentially, Mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz keeps throwing around that the Reeves Center is worth $185M and that the $55.5M offered is substantially too low. the problem is, the $185M figure is based in pure fantasy!!!

    three different independent appraisals have put the value at $60M yet opponents keep throwing around the out-dated and grossly inaccurate $185M figure and using that as evidence the City is getting a bad deal. which is total BS. the article above breaks down the $185M figure, where it came from, who it came from, etc. even the OCFO says the value of $185M is wrong and that the true value is ONLY the value of the land. the building, according to them, is not worth anything.

    Reply
  11. I do not know all of the ins-and-outs,…but what is the issue with razing RFK and building a brand new soccer specific stadium? Everything is there,…the roads, the parking, public transportation. It seems so obvious.

    Anyone?

    Reply
    • What a brilliant suggestion. I’m surprised no one has ever thought of this in the 15+ years DC has been working on a stadium. This is a game-changer. /sarcasm

      More seriously, the cost of tearing down, remediating and building a new stadium on the site would far exceed the potential revenue of a MLS stadium. Now, a new football stadium the size of Cowboys Stadium on the other hand….

      Reply
      • You did just ask a question, which has been answered many times before. Here’s a hint: If the “obvious solution” hasn’t been done, it’s probably neither obvious nor a solution.

      • Hey, bud: you’re the one that thought he’d found the obvious solution that everyone else had missed. If one of us needs to get over ourselves, it’s you, snowflake.

    • The land is owned by the U.S. government and it would require and Act of Congress to do anything there. Much of the land under the parking lots is fill and would require a years-long EPA study. That study could only commence after the previously mentioned Act of Congress.

      The RFK site (which includes the practice fields and parking lots) is administered by the District under the auspices that the land is only used for the existing stadium and related uses.

      The older elected officials in the area also wish to use the site for a future Washington Pro Football stadium (pending name change to something that’s not racist).

      Reply
      • I have heard this before…but if DCU leaves, that leaves very close to zero tenants. The place will be worthless.
        Why can’t they buy it as it exists ? The cost should be zero….look at the Silverdome selling for under $1mm.

        Better than the situation they are in now. Fix it up over time.

        New England just drew 32k to their last game. They will be glad they are in a big stadium. Seattle already is. DC will end up building this stadium right when everyone is bummed they are in a small stadium…..guarenteed.

      • Why would you want to buy a crumbling structure that does not include the land it sits on? How is this better than leasing?

        If you buy it, you are then responsible for the cost of upkeep, among many other headaches that you don’t bear by leasing. At an old Stadium like RFK, even routine maintenace is enormously expensive. Over the last two years, the city has spent $10 million on renovations that really don’t amount to much more.

        It’s a money pit that will eventually become a teardown once DC desides what they’d like to put there. It’s not like Detroit– there are plenty of people who want to use this land.

      • i wouldn’t be surprised to see 1 stadium constructed on the RFK site for both the NFL team and DC United.

        hopefully its a grass field and DCU is okay playing in RFK for the next ten years or so..

    • Yes, these answers are all true, but….
      The second Snyder decides to build a new arena for the Redskins, they’ll get approval to tear down RFK and build it.

      Reply
      • And this why I am highly skeptical that DC United will ever get stadium. The city needs a tenant at RFK until they tear it down and build a new stadium for the Washington Football Team. I think there is still ten years remaining on the lease at FedEx field.

      • Actually, no. As mentioned above, the environmental impact studies alone will take years. Remember, RFK was built before there even was an EPA, lord only knows what is under that structure. We do know there’s asbestos in the place, it’s been exposed by some of the crumbling concrete over the last couple of years. You’ve also got to consider the very real possibility that DC is going to bid to host the Summer Olympics (good lord, no) and they’ll need a place for a new Olympic Stadium. Finally, Little Danny Snyder, the NFL team owner, would think nothing of breaking the lease with Maryland in order to get to DC faster.

        So, they don’t really need a tenant for another decade or so, in fact, United may have nowhere to play in just 5 years.

    • The simple answer is that there isn’t any development opportunities for the owner in spending all that money to tear it down and build a stadium there, and still have to lease the land from the district. None of these owners are building stadiums for the charity of the game or to have just venue control, these stadium plans are multi development plans where the stadium owner is usually getting a lot of money on the development contracts.

      Reply
  12. Well this is a bummer–and also pretty predictable. DC is a tough place to do business, that’s for sure. The fact that the outgoing mayor supported the proposal certainly doesn’t help DCU’s cause, but I’m hoping that the new council sees the benefit of the project. I also think that DCU’s owners will be patient for only so long. At a certain point, they have to move to a more amenable location. As it is now, their current stadium is falling apart and really should have been condemned. I hope the council understands that fact, and also what the team means to the city.

    Reply
    • I would not read to much into it. They moved the date so they don’t have to take position on the issue before the elections. Washington post article, which is referenced here, did not make a big deal out of it.

      Reply

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