Monday marked a milestone for D.C. United, as the organization held a ceremonial groundbreaking at Audi Field.
For D.C. United, the search for a new stadium to replace RFK Stadium lasted for more than decade. Now, however, the focus will be on preparing to begin a new era at Audi Field. Currently scheduled to open in June 2018, Audi Field has an estimated capacity of 20,000 and will be located in Buzzard Point, near Nationals Park, home of MLB’s Washington Nationals.
For District, United, and league officials, Monday was noted as a turning point for the franchise. More from The Washington Post:
“It’s a huge catalyst for what we’re going to see in this neighborhood,” said Charles Allen, a council member from Ward 6, which includes Buzzard Point.
It took quite a while for United’s plans to reach fruition. Over the years, proposals to build at Poplar Point in Anacostia and in Prince George’s County fell through. Without adequate stadium revenue to sustain United’s business, there were legitimate fears the club would have to relocate to Baltimore or beyond.
“This team could not have stayed here, regardless of its historical significance to our league and even to professional sports in the District,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
The arrival of new investors in 2012 rekindled efforts to build in the city.
“There’s not a better time in our nation’s capital to build a cathedral, a mosque, a house of worship for the game of soccer,” said Jason Levien, United’s managing general partner and point man on the stadium project. Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir is the primary investor in United’s ownership group.
In the weeks leading up to the ceremony, there were several notable occasions for Audi Field. United announced earlier this month that Audi had signed on as the stadium’s naming rights partner, while the D.C. Zoning Commission granted final approval for the project on February 16.
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