Plans for a new D.C. United training facility that includes a USL stadium are moving forward, as Loudoun County, VA supervisors have approved the proposal.
The project is slated for Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park, which would become the site of a complex that includes a stadium for Loudoun United FC–a new United USL club that has been announced as a 2019 expansion team. Along with four fields (two reserved for the team, two open to public use), the complex would include offices, a training facility, and a modular stadium with a capacity of 5,000 seats. As part of the plan, Loudoun County would lease the land to D.C. United and provide $15 million in financing on the facility, which would be paid back by United.
While traffic concerns were frequently discussed throughout the planning process, officials have opted to move forward with the training complex. In voting for the complex, vice chairman Ralph M. Buona noted his support for the financial framework as well as its potential community benefits. Supervisors voted 7-1, with one absence. More from Loudoun Now:
After paying back county financing, the company will pay rent according to a marketing and revenue sharing agreement. The county and team will also lobby the General Assembly for the authority to collect a local admissions tax at the stadium.
The county will be responsible for building 1,000 parking spaces to serve the stadium, alongside the 691 spaces already available at the park-and-ride lot at the park. The cost of clearing the site and building the parking lot is estimated at $7 million.
“This is a revenue-positive project for the county,” Buona said. “We’re not subsidizing some rich sports team owners. We are getting paid back, and we are sharing in revenues for many things, like the parking, the alcohol sales, and all those kinds of things. But more importantly, this is about the greater good. I have talked to so many people around the county who are so excited about this project.”
Supervisors voted 7-1-1 to approve the park, [Kristen C.] Umstattd opposed and Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) absent.
The vote has a few implications for D.C. United. While the facility includes a home for its upstart USL club, it will also give the organization a sizable presence in a county that is part of the Washington suburbs. It also represents another significant improvement for the organization when it comes to facilities, as the MLS squad opened the new Audi Field this summer.
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