Field of Schemes
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December 29, 2004

Williams cuts Nationals check

Say goodnight, Youppi. D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams today signed the stadium bill passed by the city council last week, making the conversion of the Montreal Expos to the Washington Nationals all but official - oh, and committing the city to sell $535 million worth of bonds (plus up to $50 million in cost overruns) to pay for the thing, more than 80% of which will be paid back out of public coffers.

And nobody bothered to mention this last week, but apparently the bill also includes that $450 million "community development fund" that was proposed by Williams in October, to be funded by tax-increment financing on development surrounding the new stadium. As I've noted here previously, TIF revenues are notoriously hard to predict, and this one would be six times the size of D.C.'s largest previous TIF plan, so it's anyone's guess what will actually come of it - or how D.C. would pay off the community development bonds if the TIF money doesn't roll in as expected.

COMMENTS

Is the $50M the maximum exposure to cost over-runs the city has?

Posted by Bob on December 29, 2004 05:01 PM

It's a little unclear. If the overruns exceed $50M, the council is supposed to go back and look for a cheaper site, but that doesn't necessarily prohibit them from spending more than that. Also, it's possible that some added costs (upgrading Metro stations, say) wouldn't get attributed to the stadium project, so could end up driving the total price tag over $580M.

Posted by Neil on December 29, 2004 06:58 PM

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