The District of Columbia and team officials are close to a final agreement on a new D.C. United stadium in the city’s Buzzard Point area, according to a Washington Post report.
That there’s an agreement is not a surprise: the two sides have been working on a plan for a new 20,000-seat facility for months. And it sounds like what’s being discussed isn’t the general structure of the agreement — which has basically been agreed upon since negotiations began — but rather the fine print. As originally discussed, D.C. United will actually build the stadium, with the District providing half the construction cost and tax incentives. From the Post:
As previously agreed upon, the District government would provide up to $150 million for the estimated $300 million project through land infrastructure improvements. D.C. United would be responsible for building the stadium, which would be located a few blocks southwest of Nationals Park, but would also receive property and sales tax breaks.
A hang-up in the discussions has been how to replace an original provision in which the District would have shared in any profits the team made. After vetting the profit-sharing provision with members of the D.C. Council, City Administrator Allen Lew, the District’s chief negotiator for D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), agreed with the team to replace it with a combination of sales tax payments and a future $2 surcharge on tickets.
In the deal, the District would pay to build utility and road infrastructure for the project. Its costs are capped at $150 million, a provision aimed at preventing overruns that made construction of the Nationals Park far more expensive than originally envisioned.
D.C. United is a leading MLS franchise, playing at aging RFK Stadium. The team has looked at several alternative locations for a new stadium, but the lure of staying in the District was too strong. It’s expected the stadium will open for the 2017 season.