Just a week after being granted land by Washington D.C. for their new stadium, D.C. United are already facing issues that may cause significant delays.
The Washington Post has reported that an escalating feud over the design of the stadium between the team and developers with land south of the stadium site on Buzzard Point, led by D.C.-based Akridge, could cause the stadium to be delayed beyond its anticipated 2018 opening date.
DCU planned on seeking approval on November 2 from the D.C. Zoning Commission, a major final obstacle before construction can begin. But hampering this plan are complaints from the group of developers that the poor design of the stadium site will stifle economic development, and they appear to be ready to fight.
“Unless further changes to the plans are made in advance of the November 2nd Zoning Commission hearing, we will have no choice except to actively contest the zoning application and seek to have the Zoning Commission compel the team to make changes,” the developers stated.
DCU is contesting the complaints, stating that expensive changes, including adding new storefronts, connecting First Street SW through the site and relocating access to a loading dock, have already been implemented. Further changes are complicated by Pepco utilities that run through the site.
“We’ve done all these things and they’ve cost us millions and millions of dollars. They want us to move the trucks, they want us to move more buildings around and now they want to control the retail,” DCU owner Jason Levien said, “I think what they’re trying to say is they can appeal and delay this development for a year, and yet they haven’t done anything down there in a decade.”
The delay beyond the anticipated 2018 opening date comes with its own set of problems, as the team could lose several sponsorship and promotional deals planned upon the expected opening date, potentially costing tens of millions of dollars.