D.C. mayor could provide more United stadium details tomorrow, maybe

Okay, this is clearly officially kickstart long-stalled projects week:

A series of land swaps and cash deals required to make D.C. United’s world-class, 20,000-seat stadium a reality should be on its way to the D.C. Council in the next few days, Mayor Vincent Gray indicated on Wednesday.

“We expect by the end of the week to be able to have a legislative package [and] to have it go forward through the council to move on this,” Gray said, in reference to the $300 million project targeted for the Buzzard Point area of Southwest.

Presumably this means that Gray will actually provide details of how much the city would pay to acquire land for the stadium site and how much it would get for selling other city-owned parcels to pay for it, plus how that D.C. United profit guarantee would work out. Though as we’ve seen before, local elected officials aren’t always above proposing votes on things before they know exactly what they’re voting for. Gray says he hopes to have a council vote before the April 1 Democratic mayoral primaries.

There was a community meeting Tuesday night, meanwhile, to discuss the main parcel that D.C. would be selling to pay for soccer land, and while residents are fine with selling the property, they apparently don’t want it sold to the condo developers who’d pay the highest price:

The dozens who spoke at the meeting were nearly united in their desire to see the Reeves Center replaced not with luxury apartments, as is almost certainly the most profitable use of the site, but with office space or other uses that would generate daytime commerce in a neighborhood that is increasingly dominated by nightlife businesses…

“I think that we are sort of looking at what’s happening in this corridor,” said restaurateur Ann Cashion, who owns a taqueria a block away from Reeves. “What we’re not seeing is any daytime business activity.”

This comment from U Street Neighborhood Association President Brian Card won a round of applause: “We need daytime traffic. We don’t need another condo building.”

D.C. councilmember Jim Graham said he’d work to block any “mushy agreement” with developers “where they get to to do whatever they want to do,” and would instead push for commercial development. This could end up being a problem if it cuts into the amount of money D.C. can raise by selling the land — or not so much of a problem if Graham just ends up looking for a mixed-use project that still rakes in a lot of dough. Either way, it’s money that D.C. could be collecting to spend on something other than a soccer stadium if it wanted; we’ll see exactly how much money is at stake tomorrow, hopefully, maybe, if the mayor feels like telling us.


2 comments on “D.C. mayor could provide more United stadium details tomorrow, maybe

  1. While you don’t usually cover overseas news, I found this story relevant in that it involves a similar sweetheart deal for a professional team’s soccer stadium. While I personally doubt that the European Commission would ever bother weighing in against Spain in a situation involving Real Madrid, I did find this quote hard to imagine in an American context:

    Joaquín Almunia, the Commission vice-president in charge of competition policy, said: “Professional football clubs should finance their running costs and investments with sound financial management rather than at the expense of the taxpayer. Member states and public authorities must comply with EU rules on state aid in this sector as in all economic sectors.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/dec/18/barcelona-real-madrid-ec-investigation-public-funding