Jack Evans Report
By July 2, 2014 0 772•
On Thursday, June 26, I co-chaired a hearing on a proposed new soccer stadium in the District of Columbia. The meeting brought together residents of the District and representatives of D.C. United, the D.C. Government and other stakeholder organizations. Part of the hearing was to gather stakeholder sentiment about the proposed stadium development, but the hearing was also an opportunity to put the proposal on the public record. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of those details with you. Thursday’s hearing was the first such hearing on this proposal, so there will be other opportunities to express your views.
The new LEED-certified soccer stadium is proposed to be built in Buzzard Point, an under-resourced neighborhood of the city between the Southwest Waterfront and Nationals Stadium. The rationale for locating the stadium in this neighborhood is to create an anchor to help build up this area for residents and build off of the success we’ve seen in other similar projects, such as the Verizon Center and Nationals Stadium, which have helped spur economic development. The new stadium will generate $50 million per year in new economic activity and $14 million per year in payroll in the District.
The District of Columbia will acquire and own the land under the stadium and lease the land to DC United, who will design and construct the actual stadium (as well as bear the risk of any increased costs of building). In order to acquire the land in Buzzard Point, the District will purchase land for $85 million. Part of this amount will come from a swap of two city-owned properties for two privately held properties.
These swaps are for two properties where the stadium will be built, in exchange for city-owned properties at 14th & U Streets (the Reeves Center) and a smaller property in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood. The swaps make the process more complicated than a simpler agreement for the city and DC United to split the cost of a stadium, but they give the District an opportunity to maximize our benefit in this project while limiting our actual out of pocket costs.
The Reeves Center was built in 1986 and greatly helped the revitalization of the 14th & U Street corridor. However, three separate appraisals have told us that the Reeves building does not maximize the possible community benefits and tax revenue for such a prime location. A private development would provide a more comprehensive and valuable mixed-use building, including office space, retail, affordable housing and other uses. This will build on the success of the U street area, while allowing us to provide the support of government jobs in Anacostia, where a new Reeves Center would be located. This project allows us to provide smart planning for the future of our city and many of our neighborhoods.
This development has a few key parts. It will help us spur economic development in two currently under-served parts of our city, Buzzard Point and Anacostia. It will create a permanent, appropriately-sized home for our local soccer team, DC United, and allow us to attract more events and tourism to the District. It will also create new retail and affordable housing at 14th & U Streets. As I see it, that’s three neighborhoods greatly benefitting from this proposal, in addition to the city as a whole. We subsidize lots of things in this city; it is what makes the fabric of our city unique. That rich fabric is why it’s important that we have a soccer team and stadium in this city. The proposal as currently structured isn’t perfect, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Council, stakeholders in the project and the residents of Ward 2 to ensure a fair and beneficial deal for the residents of the District of Columbia.
I would also like to take a moment to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Tim Hanan, a Foxhall Village and former long-time Georgetown resident, who passed away a few weeks ago. Tim was a lawyer, advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and Mayor Abe Beane of New York, and a friend to all.