D.C. United is moving forward with planning on a new Buzzard Point stadium after hiring Populous to work on more detailed plans and polling potential season-ticket holders and sponsors on what they’d like to see in a new MLS facility.
The team is moving forward after reaching agreement in June with the District of Columbia on the economics of the new Buzzard Point stadium, expected to cost $287.6 million. The choice, coming after a round of meetings is July with team officials, isn’t a surprise: Populous has been working with the team for over a year on stadium renderings.
D.C. United currently plays at RFK Stadium, which opened on October 1, 1961 as home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Washington Senators. The team ownership has been working for years on a placement; the original cookie-cutter mixed-used stadium hasn’t aged well over the years. There doesn’t seem to be a path toward any sort of reuse, and it will be likely be torn down once a new D.C. United stadium comes online.
The new stadium is expected to seat 20,000 and open for the 2018 MLS season. The District is expected to spend $150 million on land acquisition, with the team paying for stadium construction.
While focus groups and polling have been used by teams and architecture firms to map out stadium plans, D.C. United’s survey goes above and beyond, per the Washington Post:
Survey respondents were asked to rank the importance of parking, in-stadium restaurants, tailgating space and amenities such as “local and craft brewery beverage” choices, mobile food ordering, child care facilities, wireless Internet and post-game entertainment such as concerts or fireworks.
The survey asks about a variety of general and club seating options, including “wider, padded” seats enjoying access to private club space or indoor lounges. The very high-end possible “Director’s Box” seats could include access to stylish, air-conditioned lounges, all-inclusive food and beverage service, and the first right to purchase tickets to all other events held at the stadium, but which could cost as much as $6,000 for the year, or $353 per game.
The survey indicates that the team plans to hold focus groups to gather more information from interested buyers.