At the end of the day it wasn’t close, as today the D.C. Council unanimously approved a new D.C. United stadium, expected to open in the 2017 season.
All the important maneuvering — the land swaps, the private financing — had been done before the vote, so it perhaps wasn’t that surprising. But after a decade of working on new-stadium plans, you can forgive D.C. United folks a victory lap of sorts.
“We are grateful that D.C. United’s future in our nation’s capital is secure,” said D.C. United Managing General Partner Jason Levien in a press statement. “This is a historic victory for the team and its fans, the city, the region and the sport of soccer in this country. I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of many city leaders, including Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, City Administrator Allen Y. Lew and the D.C. Council.”
It’s apparently not a sure thing regarding an opening date for the 20,000-25,000-seat stadium — just that it will open sometime in the season — and in the meantime D.C. United will continue playing in RFK Stadium. The new D.C. United stadium, four blocks from Nationals Park near the Anacostia and Potomac rivers, will be located in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of Southwest Washington. Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign the legislation before the end of the year.
The new D.C. United stadium and associated costs is expected to be around $300 million, 46 percent of which would come from the city, with the remainder covered by the club, who in turn receive a $50 million dollar tax break. Although the expensive urban real estate drives up the initial cost, the report concluded that the net economic benefit to the city would be $109 million over the course of the team’s lease.
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