Could D.C. United end up in Loudoun County?

New DC United Stadium June 2014

Despite years of work on a new Buzzard Point stadium, a Loudoun County D.C. United stadium is being pitched by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and apparently is under some level of consideration by team ownership.

A funding plan for a new stadium was approved by the D.C. Council in December 2014, but since then new Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and her aides have been negotiating a lease and financial agreement, with no end in sight. These talks for a new Buzzard Point stadium in Washington, D.C. have stalled: team officials reportedly have been asked to cover cost overruns and ensure some sort of payment to the District if land acquisition moves forward and a stadium not built.

That’s left the door open for the McAuliffe administration to push a Loudoun County D.C. United stadium location. The demographics for Loudoun County are amongst the best in the country, and more than one sports team has envisioned a stadium there: it was a contender to land the Washington National ballpark before District officials rallied, and as of late it attracted some investors interested in building a baseball/NASL facility there. The latter effort came to naught, but with lots of freeway access, rail access and the great demographics, it’s apparently back in play, this time for a Loudoun County D.C. United stadium home.

Of course, there’s a big difference between being in play and becoming the plan of choice. There have been plenty of whispers in recent months that the Buzzard Point plan was far from a done deal — it’s a complicated set of maneuvers that involves eminent domain and some level of brownfield abatement. And, of course, the $287-million project would be the most expensive MLS stadium ever built. Trimming $40 million from the project is surely tempting to D.C. United owners, and having a clear path to a stadium plan is also desirable. From the Washington Post:

Team officials then agreed to tour sites in Loudoun County, including land near the planned Route 606 Metro station owned by West Dulles Properties. After the tour, Rizer e-mailed Loudoun and team officials on May 28 outlining a vision for a “viable and profitable deal” for a stadium that would be ready in time for the 2017 season.

“A Loudoun stadium, before any public involvement or incentives, is at least $38 million less expensive than a stadium in D.C. with incentives over a 30-year period,” Rizer wrote in the message, which was obtained by The Washington Post….

“The county offers a fast track process, which could waive your development fees, and get you to revenue generation faster than anyone in the region,” Rizer wrote. “Occupation during your 2017 season is an achievable goal in Loudoun.”

RELATED STORIES: Council approves new D.C. United stadium; D.C. United stadium moves forward, Levien: We’re optimistic about new D.C. United stadium

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