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Report: D.C. City Council to use eminent domain in stadium proposal

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


The Washington D.C. soccer stadium saga has taken a new twist.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the D.C. City Council are set to change the parameters of their stadium proposal, mainly taking the Reeves Center off the table in the land-swap agreements and pursuing land the city needs for the stadium through the use of eminent domain.

The original proposal included the city completing a number of complicated land-swaps with the current land owners on the Buzzard Point property that D.C. United wants to build their $150 million stadium. The most contentious land swap was handing the Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets in the city to property developer Akridge. This specific swap was opposed by a number of people on City Council, including the mayor elect Muriel Bowser.

The report states that Bowser and fellow City Council member Kenyan McDuffie “have scheduled hearings on the reworked legislation for their committees” on Tuesday. City Council chairman Phil Mendelson told the Post he expected both committees to vote on the legislation on Tuesday as well.

Once Bowser takes office in January, she can use eminent domain to acquire land owned by Akridge at a court-negotiated price.

What remains unclear is how D.C. will pay for this specific move without swapping other properties. A number of other land swaps with other land owners such as Pepco are still on the table and are part of the deal.

Mendelson claimed to the Post that he had a good idea of how the city was going to finance the stadium proposal but didn’t provide any details. He also expressed surprise at outgoing mayor Vincent Gray’s lack of action on the funding front.

“I have to say I think it’s odd that, as important as the administration says this is, there’s been radio silence about funding since the legislation was sent down in May,” Mendelson said.


What do you think of this report? Do you expect D.C.’s attempt to put eminent domain on the stadium proposal to pass? Do you think this gives the D.C. stadium a better chance of becoming a reality? Should the city have traded the Reeves Center after all?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It actually seems like the pieces are falling into place. Whether a deal with hte developer, Akridge can be reached before the city moves to claim the land remains to be seen, of course…but, either way, it looks like construction could begin next year.

    • I should add that the city had to use eminent domain in putting together the land for Nationals Park, so this isn’t new or that big a deal.

  2. Why don’t we discuss the real issue here? Why was Bowser elected? Bowser has quite the criminal record, kidnapping (Peach), attempted murder (Mario, Luigi), theft (the Star Rod), etc.

    I think it’s obvious. Bowser was elected to be the “bad guy” in the event that eminent domain comes into play. He’s the perfect fall guy!

    Well played, DC. Well played… 😉

  3. Let’s see how this plays out. Could just be leverage to get people to negotiate. It’s dirty pool to be sure, but nothings been done yet.

    • It is intended as leverage. The next month will determine whether a deal can be reached or whether the city will simply claim the property.. and the price will be decided by the courts.

      It’s not so much dirty pool as it is politics…and bad business.

  4. As a former city planner who dealt with a lot of redevelopment projects including several that included imminent domain proceedings ( and including one that included a sports facility) The process can be a two edge sword. The key is for DC to offer inducement packages to the developer. Failing that, an unfriendly proceeding can result in an ongoing lawsuit that could push back the stadium for a period of several years. Unlike the church in Orlando who opposed the proceedings and demanded unrealistic sums of money., developers and for profit entities can enjoy a profitable exchange that will include tax benefits, goodwill payments and fair market value.that make the acquisition of the site. good for both sides.

    • Sad fact is, ramrodding is pretty much the only way to get things done in a city these days.

      Otherwise people just sit on what they got, knowing that somebody else’s dream is just more money in their pocket. Usually over their dead property.

      I actually tried to get ahold of some downtown property one time. Turned out I was about the one thousandth person with the same idea, and the property in question had gone into estate with nineteen – repeat, (19) – heirs who would have all had to sign on the dotted line to sell. Of course some of them were unwilling – all they had to do was hold onto their property, after all, and the price would only go up – and eventually the city had to come in. With eminent domain. Ended up going to yet another mixed-use development project. The trust-fund babies ended up getting maybe fifty per cent of what other folks had offered previously.

      How it works. I do know I haven’t got a ton of use for people who do nothing, and produce nothing…but, in the words of Gordon Gecko, just…own. And stop progress for their own profit.

      • And that’s really all most of these properties are: unproductive. About the most productive of any of them is a scrap yard.

  5. They don’t plan on using eminent domain, the committee just voted to authorize it in case the mayor needs to use it to do the deal. They’re going to try to buy it outright, and probably everyone will fall in line.

  6. Well, it’s great news for dc united and maybe not for others, but reality is that the reeves center might end up with free tickets and concessions 🙂
    Hopefully dc united goes back to their old unis and get a better crest.
    By the way, in NASL news, NASL plans to go back to Los Angeles. Wonder what name will they use and colors and where else will NASL go in the west.

      • The Baltimore jab is almost as played out as the StLouis calls a few years ago. MLS will always have a team in the DC Metro area.

      • Unless the move to Baltimore becomes are reality, you will have to still come to DC to see MLS cup trophies, because there are none won by your favorite New Jersey team named after the energy drink.

      • That’s fine. Those are ancient history anyway, won back in the stone ages of MLS. Meanwhile, DC have made the playoffs twice in the past seven seasons, and this past season ended with 1,500 or so travelling “energy drink” supporters celebrating with the raccoons at RFK.

      • That’s fine. Those are ancient history, won back in the stone ages of MLS. More recently, you’ve got 2 playoff appearances in the last seven years and this past season ended with 1,500 “energy drink” supporters celebrating at RFK.

      • That’s the difference between DCU and “energy drink” team. DCU supporters celebrate when the team wins MLS cups, energy drink supporters celebrate when their team advances through the first round of playoffs.

      • Native Americans got owned, just like hundreds of civilizations have over human existence. Native Americans themselves have done this to other Native Americans (see the Aztecs). So get off your moral high-ground.

      • I have 3 rules I live my life by. #2 is take historical notes from someone who uses the term owned when attempting to provide factual events.

      • 3 generations ago, my family ran a farm that is now an airport… Eminent domain… Unless the property owners are being completely ridiculous in their requests (which admittedly is their right), this just isn’t a great way to go about things…

      • Honestly: the property owners here probably are. The properties have value, but a fair bit of the value is because DC and DCU want to put a stadium there. The rest is just because it’s DC. We’re talking about scrap yards…

      • It’s legal because SCOTUS said so in Kelo v. New London. In fact they ruled it doesn’t even have to be for a public good but a private one as was the case in New London.

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