D.C. United stadium — what’s the rush?

The latest from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute on the proposed D.C. United stadium:

The term sheet sets a number of unrealistically short deadlines. DC would have until January 1, 2014 to make all necessary land swaps, trading District-owned land for privately-owned land at Buzzard Point.  By March 1, 2015, the District would have to complete infrastructure improvements to the site, including moving the Pepco utilities station which currently resides there. If DC does not meet those timelines, certain development and facility fees would be waived for the team and DC United would have the right to exit the contract.

Accomplishing these goals would require the DC Council to take quick action this fall to approve the disposition of the Reeves Center (and maybe other properties), approve expenditures to demolish and clean up the site, and build new infrastructure.

But, what’s the rush? The plan to open the stadium for the 2017 season is a somewhat arbitrary goal.  Regardless of timelines, getting the stadium deal right for District residents should be the DC Council’s number one goal. The proposal is complicated, and the DC Council should take the time needed to carefully examine all of the terms.

They have a point: The only reason to agree to such tight deadlines is if you think they’re needed to get United on the hook lest they go snap up a stadium deal elsewhere, and since D.C. is effectively bidding against itself at this point, that’s not really a concern. It’d be nice if someone at least took the time to investigate that crazy profit guarantee that’s part of the deal and how it would work with MLS’s single-entity-ownership structure where team profits are really league profits. But I guess there’ll be plenty of closer financial investigations after the deal has been signed — because that’s worked out so well elsewhere.


2 comments on “D.C. United stadium — what’s the rush?

  1. I wonder if the reason is that there is a chance that someone who is less hospitable to business and Redevelopment in general than Gray (see the Wal-Mart issue), may become Mayor? I wonder before Bloomberg leaves office, if you will see an attempt by the Yankees & Manchester City to gain approval to build a Soccer Stadium where the Parking Garages are, if they think Di Blasio will become Mayor for exactly the same reason we are seeing in DC?

  2. They may as well just go ahead and waive those “development and facility fees” now – which may be the whole idea. If they haven’t already found a new home for that power station and at least started the planning process for moving it, ain’t no way it gets done by 3/1/15. Projects of that magnitude never get done that quickly.

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