By K. Levek
Mayor Gray and DC United co-owner Jason Levien announced late July a tentative public-private partnership to build a new 20,000-25,000 seat soc¬cer stadium as part of a $300 million development deal. The new soccer stadium will be located in the industrial neighborhood of Buzzard Point, in South¬west DC.
The new stadium, to be located adjacent to the Fort McNair Army base, will be bounded by Half Street and Second Street SW, between R and T Streets, is anticipated to be complete in time for the 2016 season. It is also close to the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium and would spur much more development to that part of the city.
United has been pushing for a new stadium for years, as the team currently plays in RFK stadium, which was built in 1961 and used to be home to both the Washington Redskins and the Washington Sena¬tors.
Gray announced that the city is going to swap an existing municipal building (The Reeves Center) that sits atop some very valuable land, at 14th and U streets, N.W., in order to acquire some not-so-valuable land, at Buzzard Point. The Buzzard Point land will be used to build a stadium and the Reeves Center will be turned into a mixed-use con¬dos-and-retail structure, and the city agencies will be relocated to a new facility near the Anacostia Metro where they’ll help contribute to what’s hopefully a renaissance for retailers in the Historic Anacostia downtown area. The Reeves Center would be given to a private developer in exchange for the Buzzard Point land to build the new stadium.
United will front the $150 million expected cost of actually constructing the stadium, but before any ground can be broken, the District agreed to se¬cure the land, which will be done so through several land and cash deals that still need to be formalized. The District will cover the other $150 million, what Gray called the “horizontal” part of the project. The Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U Streets NW, houses several District agencies and is apart of the land swap deal. It would be relocated to the Anacostia Gateway complex on Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE if the deal goes through.
The soccer stadium deal and land swap must be approved by City Council before any action can take place. Private owners of the land, devel¬opment firm Akridge, investor Mark Ein, including PEPCO, have yet to consent to sell their respective properties.
“The new soccer stadium is the final piece in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative puzzle that, when complete will create the most vibrant and sustain¬able sports-and-retail district in America,” said Gray.