Greater Greater Washington


Some still carry torch for new NFL stadium, lots of parking

A few DC officials haven't stopped trying to get the Landover NFL team back to the District. Even though one dedicated champion of wooing the team, Michael Brown, is off the DC Council, Tim Craig reports that Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is promoting the idea, along with Mayor Gray and dedicated sports fan Jack Evans.

Photo by _rockinfree on Flickr.

Evans, perhaps reacting to criticism that he'd pour public money into the stadium, insists that the city wouldn't spend any public money on a stadium. However, he says, the city might pay for new streets and parking lots.

It's good he wants to make the team pay for the stadium itself, and as Craig explains, that's likely going to make any deal not appealing to owner Dan Snyder. However, even paying for parking lots is a big expense, and a bad one. New York spent $39 million on parking lots at the new Yankee Stadium.

Plus, they ended up finding the lots going largely empty, thanks in part to a new Metro-North station at the ballpark. The garage operator ended up defaulting on the garage bonds because of low usage. Public spending on garages at any new stadium largely amounts to spending public money to encourage people not to use the Metro that we also already spend public money to operate.

Why do these apparently bad deals keep resurfacing? It's simple: some people think that having professional sports teams here is integral enough to our civic pride that it's worth large sums to get them, even if the deal doesn't pay off economically and wouldn't fly if it were a deal for just a generic private development.

A few months ago, I was on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt right after Jack Evans. We mainly talked about development without underground parking and Evans spoke to that issue as well in his segment. But they had an interesting exchange about sports stadiums, who've had no greater booster than Evans.

DePuyt asked Evans about plans for a soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, and what the District's subsidy might be. Evans asserted that it would pay off economically, but even if it doesn't, he said the District should pay to bring in professional sports simply because of "civic pride":

There's a civic pride that comes from this. When I was pushing the baseball stadium, I used say to people, we're we do it because we want a team. Start with that. Whether it's economically viable or not, who cares? We want a baseball team because Washington, DC was the only major city in America without one.

Do we economically analyze every museum we build? If we did, we wouldn't build any museums. It's a part of our culture.

I'd note that actually, most museums get their funds from private individuals, foundations, and the federal government. The District cut arts funding during the recession, and doesn't spend $611 million on a museum. On the other hand, it has contributed to help many local theaters and other prominent arts organizations buy and renovate their buildings over the years.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 


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If the afore-mentioned gov't officials want to move the Redskins back to D.C. then maybe they should raise the money to buy the team from Dan Snyder then they can use their position in government to clear the way for a new redskins stadium and finace it using both their profits from the team and the city's money as well.

*I'm being incredibly sarcastic. Out of all the things to have civic pride in DC in the Redskins is low on the list. Besides the team is regional anyway and it makes as much sense to have it Md. or Va. as well.

by drumz on Jan 8, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

This is one point that Evans makes that I agree with. This is good for DC. With parking. Beside a Metro.

Didn't you come out against the Nats stadium as well, David? Hard to argue the success there. With parking. Beside a Metro.

DC can and will get the Skins back.

by loveitorleaveit on Jan 8, 2013 3:11 pm • linkreport

An awesome place for the stadium would be Buzzard point, next to a DC United stadium with a shared parking lot. That are is totally underdeveloped and prime in terms of space. It is also close to Nat's Park which would create a nice array of sports venues.

Either that or put it in Ward 8 (pref where Barry Farms is currently) to try to force development around the area. Just some thoughts

by SWDC on Jan 8, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

football stadiums typically have larger, less urban footprints than baseball parks (less due to the stadium itself, than the need for large amounts of parking for tailgate parties) and perhaps more importantly, a baseball park is used 81 times a year (excluding playoffs and special events) - a football stadium, a fraction of that.

So even IF you think Nats Park added to Capital Riverfront (I think it did, but acknowledge a case can be made the other way) it does not follow that a football stadium plays the same way.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 8, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport


by SWDC on Jan 8, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

Didn't you come out against the Nats stadium as well, David? Hard to argue the success there. With parking. Beside a Metro.

What is the success the city has realized because the Nats are here? I love baseball and go to Nats games often but I don't think it was a great deal for the city. We've talked about this issue on this blog before, the consensus has generally been that the development that's there would have happened without the stadium. Not to mention the fact that the development opportunities directly adjacent to the stadium (some of which I believe are controlled by the Lerners) remain empty!

Also, the Nats stadium has way less parking than any deal the Skins and the NFL would accept. Much of the parking available for the Nats is at other lots that are not part of the stadium complex. Snyder and the NFL will not accept that as parking is a cash cow for NFL teams.

by MLD on Jan 8, 2013 3:17 pm • linkreport

The only development site by Nats Park owned by the Lerners and not developed is three blocks north, at 1000 South Capitol Street (Lerner already developed 20 M Street). The ones directly north are owned by Monument Realty and Akridge. To the south, Florida Rock Properties.

by JD on Jan 8, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

Whatever "civic pride" comes from having a baseball team, the situation is entirely different with a football team.

We have a football team. They happen to play in Landover, but the Washington Redskins are DC's football team. How much more "civic pride" would we get from having them play within District limits?

by ah on Jan 8, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

A NFL stadium wouldn't fit at Buzzard Point. The deal with DC United has almost always been a privately built stadium with assistance for infrastructure (land, streets, utilities). I'm not sure how those costs (which would likely be covered by the District for any development) are comparable to a privately operated garage in New York. Also, there is no evidence of a new NFL stadium being built with District money. Daniel Snyder owns FedEx Field and would want to own any new stadium/development. It has always been assumed the sale of FedEx (which Prince George's has plans for) would finance a new stadium. In the past, stadiums not fitting into urban settings has been debunked here and most have acknowledged there would be development around or attached to the stadium wherever it is located.

by selxic on Jan 8, 2013 3:28 pm • linkreport

Government spending on pro sports teams reminds me of a state religion. Whichever religion you chose to subsidize you're taking away from those who don't adhere (or believe in some other religion besides the state-approved one). In the same way, sports fans expect us to underwrite their particular hobby at the expense of everybody else.

by Steve S. on Jan 8, 2013 3:39 pm • linkreport

I have always wondered why a dual stadium setup at RFK couldn't work, building both a football and soccer stadium in the same place to take advantage of the metro access.

Remove the DC Armory, it is a waste of space and you have a piece of land where by a rough eye, you could build two RFK size stadiums, and not even touch all the parking to the ne and se of the existing stadium. Bury C street and independance Ave where it goes through that parcel of land and you have even more usable space.

by Stadium on Jan 8, 2013 3:44 pm • linkreport

I agree the city doesnt need it. Not because I'm inherently against stadiums in the city (though associated parking would probably be a deal breaker) but because the existing stadium isn't that old and its close enough to a metro station. Shamefully existing ped connections look pathetic. I say improve pedestrian connections to the Morgan Blvd metro station. Squabbling over stadium siting is like states that pay out absurd economic development incentives. Would be a huge waste of tax dollars.

by Alan B. on Jan 8, 2013 3:46 pm • linkreport

Cities don't build for-profit private museums, they build non-profit public ones. You know why? Because the public shouldn't be forced to put up their tax dollars in order for one individual to reap the profits. I'll vote in favor of using city funds to build a stadium just as soon as the team pays market rate for rent and teh cost is wholly reimbured for the cost or the team is owned by the public and we can receive the gains.

by 7r3y3r on Jan 8, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

I can't argue with Evans' views on civic pride. The Nats have made me love my city (and baseball) much more so than I did prior.

by Col. Brentwood on Jan 8, 2013 3:51 pm • linkreport

It's not about the money, nor is it about making and urban v. non-urban lifestyle. It is also not about civic pride really.

It is about the overwhelming passions people have about their sports team. And in the end, if all the justification given as to why these are good things do not add up, it does not matter. People will have their favorite sports teams in any way possible and all those who do not like sports and/or spending public money on them. Oh well.

Its not being cold or cavaliar about it, it is a truth. And a thousand articles like this pointing out the falacies involved in these endeavors will change no one's passions on this matter. Its about a Quixote moment as you are going to get continuing to crusade about this when hearts and opinions are fixed upon this, cruel and unfair it might be.

by Ray B on Jan 8, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport


I think your example of Nats Park proved the opposite of your point. The baseball stadium has comparatively little parking. IIRC, there are about 5,000 parking spots for a 40,000+ seat stadium. FedEx field has 20,000 spaces for 85,000 people. That's four times the spaces for a venue that's barely twice as large and only gets used 10 times a year.

by Adam L on Jan 8, 2013 3:53 pm • linkreport

"It is about the overwhelming passions people have about their sports team"

I enjoy the Skins. I watch them on TV. I've never been to a game. I suspect very few residents of the region have been to a game, and few residents of the District have been. And most of those who have do not attend games regularly.

Its clearly possible to have pride in the area team, even if its located on the far side of a jurisdiction line.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 8, 2013 3:59 pm • linkreport

We want to be like NYC and SF, but we want to let our gov't officials make decisions like we're Buffalo. . .
Top tier cities like NY and SF aren't financing new football stadiums anymore: it's too expensive and it doesn't pay off. (The Jets and Giants play in Jersey. 49s are moving to Santa Clara.)
There are 8 or 9 home football games a year, vs 40 NBA games and 81 MLB games! Our land is too valuable to go underutilized 350+ days a year.
I love football, but if it doesn't make dollars, it doesn't make sense, especially in football. These owners and teams make decisions all the time that are all about the economics. Fans should do the same.

by Terrible on Jan 8, 2013 4:06 pm • linkreport

Dan Snyder has repeatedly shown that he is not interested in anything beyond further enriching himself and stroking his already bloated ego. He should not get one cent from the taxpayers of DC unless it can be proven that whatever deal is worked out will (including all construction costs, tax breaks, etc) result in a net revenue gain for the city.

by Jacob on Jan 8, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

Its not being cold or cavaliar about it, it is a truth. And a thousand articles like this pointing out the falacies involved in these endeavors will change no one's passions on this matter. Its about a Quixote moment as you are going to get continuing to crusade about this when hearts and opinions are fixed upon this, cruel and unfair it might be.

Groups of humans have done stupid and counterproductive things for forty millennia, and they'll probably continue for another forty--if we survive that long. That doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and capitulate.

It's a testament to irrationality that we already have one site in the city that's a desolate, ravaged wasteland because we built a exurban-style football stadium, and now we can't wait to pick out another multi- square-mile site to essentially "nuke" in the hopes that our local sports team will deign to move its games a handful of miles west.

And while we're on the subject of sources of potential city pride: Where's DC's international airport? Why should both MD and VA have international airports, and DC have none? Time to raze five square miles of SE DC and start laying tarmac!

(I'd make a joke demanding a DC Costco, but that train's already left the station...)

by oboe on Jan 8, 2013 4:35 pm • linkreport

I suspect very few residents of the region have been to a game, and few residents of the District have been. And most of those who have do not attend games regularly.

Hunh? So who are the 10's of 1000's of people who were attending the games this year? Where were they from? I know tons E&WOTR who went to the games. Maybe you mean, "very few people who are GGW followers" have been.

by HogWash on Jan 8, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

10s of thousands out of a metro area of about 4 million.

by drumz on Jan 8, 2013 4:49 pm • linkreport

10s of thousands out of a metro area of about 4 million.

Everyone in the city is a rabid DC Rollergirls fan because most of the people I know have been to a game. (match? show?)

by oboe on Jan 8, 2013 4:52 pm • linkreport

Remove the DC Armory, it is a waste of space and you have a piece of land where by a rough eye, you could build two RFK size stadiums, and not even touch all the parking to the ne and se of the existing stadium.

Do you know what the DC Armory (really any Armory) is? It is the main base of the DC National Guard. I don't know who owns the site or building, but it fulfills a military purpose, and changing it is just not going to happen

by kinverson on Jan 8, 2013 4:55 pm • linkreport

10s of thousands out of a metro area of about 4 million.

Isn't this priceless. In response to someone saying that very few residents attend the games, I pointed out that lots and lots of them do. Yet, your response isn't to the person who suggested that very few people do what 10's of thousands. It's to tell me that it's really not a lot considering we're talking 4 million.

Well sure. Let's take your approach. Very few people in the DC-area of 4million bike or even care to bike. Ironically, there are more people who attend one game than an entire year of Cabi users. But I imagine if someone took the same approach and suggested that very few people bike, you would object to that.

by HogWash on Jan 8, 2013 5:02 pm • linkreport


Except one is a mode of transportation and the other is a sport played by select professionals.

by Drumz on Jan 8, 2013 5:04 pm • linkreport

Besides AWITC was explicitly talking about the region.

Anyway, I think it'd be grand if the skins played in DC. I also think it'd be functionally impossible in every way no matter where the fans come from.

by Drumz on Jan 8, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

Only if we can name such a colossal waste of money Jack Evans Stadium.

by aaa on Jan 8, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

In response to someone saying that very few residents attend the games, I pointed out that lots and lots of them do.

A lot of people do go to Redskins games-- a few times per year. Most of the time, the number of people at the Redskins stadium is zero. Why should taxpayers put up money for a stadium that is hardly ever going to be used?

by JustMe on Jan 8, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

yes, I was thinking 80,000 at any one game. thats a lot at all the home games, but I guess many are season ticket holders.

And thats out of the entire metro area population.

I suspect a minority of all the people who feel pride in the Redskins - my point being, that you can feel that pride without actually attending a game, so it doesnt matter that much if its in Landover or in Buzzards Point.

If someone were to show data that CaBi users are a small proportion of all bikers in the region, I would find that interesting. And if they said that its possible to be passionate about biking, without using CaBi, that would, indeed, be evidence.

But of course we dont have CaBi for passion - we (not only DC, but Arlington and Alexandria as well) support it because it has (or is beleived to have) a positive cost benefit. I am open to arguments like that about sports arenas (though I am skeptical about it for football stadiums at urban locations). But the argument I was replying to was that a stadium should be in DC for "pride". which doesnt make sense to me, since we can feel pride even with the redskins at Landover.

Do you not feel pride in the redskins this year?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 8, 2013 5:27 pm • linkreport

"New York spent $39 million on parking lots at the new Yankee Stadium.

Plus, they ended up finding the lots going largely empty, thanks in part to a new Metro-North station at the ballpark. The garage operator ended up defaulting on the garage bonds because of low usage. Public spending on garages at any new stadium largely amounts to spending public money to encourage people not to use the Metro that we also already spend public money to operate. "

True, but what we're talking about are totally different animals - different types of stadiums with different types of patrons.

A football stadium, unlike a baseball stadium, attracts a large contingent of tailgaters. Tailgaters come to the stadium in cars, not on transit.

Anyone who has ever seen the large contingent of tail-gaiters at FedEx Field will tell you that tailgating is a big deal with football fans. Indeed, many who tailgate at FedEx field don't even have game tickets; they come to the lot to tailgate, party, and watch the game on TV.

Dan Snyder and the Redskins would never seriously consider any location that didn't provide a significant amount of parking, regardless of the proximity of the location to a Metro station.

There's a reason why BOTH New York football teams play at the Meadowlands in New Jersey as opposed to The Bronx and it has less to do with proximity to rail transit than it does with the ability to provide parking. When the Giants left Yankee Stadium in the 1980's, lack of parking was cited as a primary reason.

If DC is serious about bringing football back into the District, it had better plan for parking. DC's current formula of putting a large venue (like the Nats Stadium and the Verizon Arena) near a Metro station, providing no parking to speak of, and crowing that the facility is "convenient to Metro" won't cut it with football.

by ceefer66 on Jan 8, 2013 6:00 pm • linkreport

ceefer66, you're providing a lot of great reasons why football stadiums should be kept out in the suburbs.

by JustMe on Jan 8, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

I go to the Fedex Field parking lot virtually every game for the tailgate and usually attend a couple of games a year as well. While it would make my trip to the stadium quicker if it was in DC, based on my experience, football stadiums are best suited for the suburbs.

First of all, tailgating is an integral part of the football experience unlike baseball or bball. To make tailgating work, a lot of folks have to drive to the stadium. I happen to usually take metro but I'm totally dependent on friends who drive and bring everything needed for the tailgate.

Tailgating also takes tons of room. Not only do you need enough space for people to bring large vehicles with all their gear, you need space for them to setup their tailgate. Ideally, you also have space for people to setup bean bag toss games, throw around a football, setup TVs, light fireworks, and generally create a festive atmosphere. Snyder tried restricting everyone to only take up a single spot one time and there was nearly a riot.

To make tailgating work, you also need great highway access to the stadium because of all the people who need to drive. The suburbs are always going to have better highway infrastructure.

Aside from tailgating, a lot of fans are simply used to driving to games and have been doing so for decades (including the RFK days). Changing things so its setup like the Nats stadium where the vast majority have to take metro and parking is even more outrageously priced would be a hardship for many fans.

Stadiums are also dead space most of the year. Suburbs can afford to have large swaths of land that are unused most of the year. The availability of land is one of the suburbs' biggest strengths. Cities by contrast need to use their limited space far more intensely to make the economics of their built environment work.

by Falls Church on Jan 8, 2013 6:07 pm • linkreport

By its very nature DC has a limited amount of space. Devoting a large amount of that limited space that a football stadium and the parking that would be required would be a worse use of that space then simple regular city development. Even if the city didn't contribute any money at all, the city as a whole would lose what could have been put in the stadiums place instead.

A football stadium will only be used a very limited number of times a year. You can't combine it with a soccer stadium because MLS doesn't want its teams playing in 80,000 seat football stadiums for a variety of reasons.

by nathaniel on Jan 8, 2013 6:07 pm • linkreport

Evans says, "Do we economically analyze every museum we build? If we did, we wouldn't build any museums. It's a part of our culture."

Even taking his comparison at face value (despite David's correct response about federal funding), and despite the fact that I generally support funding for museums and other cultural institutions, I'd hope the District would think twice before building a brand new museum to display exhibits that were already on display in a perfectly good, Metro-accessible, museum in a neighboring jurisdiction. I'd be even more skeptical if the new museum were only going to be open 10 times per year...

by Jimmy on Jan 8, 2013 6:09 pm • linkreport

Comparisons between a new Redskins stadium and Nationals Park are inappropriate for a variety of reasons. Football stadiums typically host less than 10% of the home games that baseball stadiums host. But, it's also worth noting that the Nationals Park deal was designed to get a baseball team in the DC area when we didn't have one. Without Nats Park, the team likely would have gone to another part of the country.

In this case, we're talking about spending money to move a team from one location within the Metro area to another for the "pride" of not having to cross the District line (literally to avoid having to cross a street) to attend games. Even if you buy into Evans' argument that team pride is a civic good, and that the government should ensure access to sports teams in the same manner that it tries to ensure access to museums, opera, or orchestras, that argument wouldn't justify building a new Redskins stadium. The District spent money in the Nats Park deal and, by Evans' logic, this was justified to provide District residents with access to MLB games. But, as long as the District keeps the Metro system running and the roads open, DC residents have ready access to an NFL team. A new Redskins stadium is a solution in search of a problem.

by Jimmy on Jan 8, 2013 6:19 pm • linkreport

In the last Redskins stadium round some architects did a great proposal to rebuild RFK much taller to increase capacity and add skyboxes while keeping the landmark wavy cornice on top. Sort of the way Dulles was expanded preserving it's architecture.

The plan went no where. The NFL insists on ever-bigger monster stadia that destroy an urban area. None of the Redskins' proposals other than Landover lasted long because of their sheer size. Even Potomac Yards fell through.

In a way this is DC fighting between being a European type city (as planned), and an American city. American cities often have huge football stadia, for "prestige", in the close-in urban core. European cities do not and more urban American cities are catching on to why not.

And of course they're taxpayer-funded (even though the $1 Billion for Nats Stadium technically is only supposed to come out of the taxes paid by those grossing over $5 Million).

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 8, 2013 6:23 pm • linkreport

FYI, just because it keeps getting mentioned the Meadowlands has a dedicated rail spur so people can get there by transit. Not sure what the ridership is today (closest I can see is about 10000 people taking a roundtrip per game in 2010) but I wouldn't be surprised if it pulls mostly from the Jersey City/Manhattan contingent.

by Alan B on Jan 8, 2013 6:44 pm • linkreport

Why is Buzzard Point being mentioned for a NFL stadium? It's not large enough. It's barely large enough for a MLS stadium.

There is no evidence that any NFL stadium in DC would be publicly financed. Snyder would build, own and operate the stadium and surrounding development.

I'm not sure why it matters, but there are plenty of examples of large stadiums in close in urban cores in Europe, Tom Coumaris. I don't recall the architectural proposal you're referring to from 20 years ago, but it would be very cost prohibitive then and now to renovate and build the capacity and the amenities that the team wanted.

I still don't understand the comparison between a privately operated parking garage and infrastructure upgrades.

by selxic on Jan 8, 2013 6:50 pm • linkreport

Even without parking/transit/urban issues associated with football stadiums, this stadium is only about 15 years old, yet was designed for how long? It should be used to its fullest potential, until repairs and renovations become cost-prohibitive.

by Vanmo96 on Jan 8, 2013 8:07 pm • linkreport

Opened for 15 years. The design is from the late 80's and if they are planning for a new stadium which would probably open in 2016 if everything was approved tomorrow. So age is relative. But yeah still a young stadium.

by RJ on Jan 8, 2013 9:20 pm • linkreport

Why, Vanmo96? Cooke built it with his own money.

by selxic on Jan 8, 2013 9:25 pm • linkreport

I really wish the Redskins would come back to where RFK is. I go to several games a year; and, while it is an easy commute for me, as all I have to do is go down South Dakota Avenue and take New York Avenue to Landover Road, I'd love to be able to take the Metro to RFK. I really wish that the Redskins were back in DC. It would make better use to have a new stadium there than RFK.

I fully support building a stadium at Buzzard Point as it would bring in more development to that area. Development around the Nationals' stadium, now that the economy is doing better, is under way. I think that having a stadium there would improve the area.

I have no problem with supporting stadiums with some taxpayer funds. Most business deals that involve bringing companies usually involve some sort of incentive.

by Rain17 on Jan 8, 2013 11:47 pm • linkreport

Why are some people so sure that a Redskins stadium would be built entirely with private money? There are a total of 5 (out of 31) NFL stadiums built without any public dollars:
Jets/Giants (though the public is actually still paying the debt on the OLD stadium)
Redskins (Previous owner built the stadium)

If a new stadium were built in DC I would expect there to be plenty of public dollars involved. If Snyder were building it himself I would assume he would want someplace cheaper.

by MLD on Jan 9, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

The general assumption has always been that there would be a land transfer at the RFK site and Snyder would be given a portion to develop. Snyder owns FedEx Field and would want the same revenue stream from a new facility therefore he would want to own a new stadium instead of renting a new stadium. He would finance the building of a new stadium with the sale of FedEx Field and surrounding property. In this scenario, DC is cheaper since the land would be essentially given to him (probably a nominal lease of something like $1/yr).

by selxic on Jan 9, 2013 8:51 am • linkreport


Main problem: the federal government owns the land, not D.C., and they have other plans for the space.

Secondary problem: I can guarantee that if D.C. or the feds were prepared to give Snyder land for free, that Prince George's or Fairfax would be willing to make the same deal. Probably not so surprising, Montgomery County seems like they couldn't be less interested in getting a football stadium.

by Adam L on Jan 9, 2013 8:55 am • linkreport

Why not explore the idea of DC United playing at FedEx field (and improving public transportation access to FedEx) and redeveloping the RFK (and buzzard) point areas into vibrant, new urban neighborhoods?
If a new stadium in the District is on the table (and Seattle has shown that a combined football-soccer stadium can work) then so should eliminating RFK.

by andy2 on Jan 9, 2013 8:58 am • linkreport

The biggest problem with an NFL stadium in DC is the city would have to partner with Dan Snyder. He has a long history of being a really bad partner and is a documented jerk in far too many instances to count.

Jack Evans might have been right abut the Nats stadium, but an NFL stadium is a lot more expensive, used far less and the city is growing like crazy without needing a stadium jump start.

Jack Evans campaign for Mayor will surely raise a bunch of cash from stadium supporters. He gets to be out front promoting new investment in the city, gets his face on TV and DC voters associate him with a popular team. To me it demonstrates his poor leadership.

by Turtleshell on Jan 9, 2013 9:08 am • linkreport


The National Capital Planning Commission already has plans for what they'd like to see down at the RFK space, none of which involve a stadium. The difference between FedEx field and Century Link field is that the state owns the stadium in Seattle. The rent the D.C. United would pay to Snyder would likely be extraordinary (worse than the deal they get from the District to play at crumbling RFK), not to mention the fact that a football stadium is almost always going to be too large for soccer. To me, there's little else that's as depressing as watching a team play in a stadium that would almost never be more than one-quarter full.

by Adam L on Jan 9, 2013 9:10 am • linkreport

FYI, just because it keeps getting mentioned the Meadowlands has a dedicated rail spur so people can get there by transit. Not sure what the ridership is today (closest I can see is about 10000 people taking a roundtrip per game in 2010) but I wouldn't be surprised if it pulls mostly from the Jersey City/Manhattan contingent.

As a season ticket holder of the NY NFL team (sorta) that currently is the laughingstock of the NFL, I can attest that there's a decent sized contingent (of fellow masochists) from the DC area that regularly takes transit to the Meadowlands. I imagine it's the same for Giants games.

by dcd on Jan 9, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Adam L, I included the land transfer in the first line and later explained that "giving" Snyder the land as leasing the land to him at a small fee for tax purposes. The current NPC plans for the RFK site are basically suggestions or ideas. There are no locations in Fairfax that would want the stadium at this point and moving from one PG location to another would defeat the point. Snyder could build a new stadium on the FedEx site if he wanted.

by selxic on Jan 9, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

Oboe, I believe you are looking for "bout" as in "roller derby bout". And while I haven't been to a game, I am a fan, and they should probably get a new stadium.

by Will on Jan 9, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

Montgomery County seems like they couldn't be less interested in getting a football stadium.

Damned adults.

by oboe on Jan 9, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

What about having DC United use Fed Ex field for the 2 (ish)years It will take to build a new stadium.. Completely demolish RFK and rebuild a smaller,nicer stadium on THAT land. Voila!! Problem solved.. (that is of course If Dan Snyder will let us use his stadium for a while..(can we get a discount..LOL??) I don't understand why that idea hasn't been mentioned,seriously? RFK could have been torn down and "rebuilt" by now.. Can we please stop bickering and actually get something done allready. And yes, I do think DC should partially pick up the tab for the new build... the rest can come from investors both private companies and individuals.. the new stadium should be a multipurpose stadium.. (possibly partially enclosed??) so It can be used in the winter also for other things..
I dunno.. throwing ideas out there..But if it could be used for other things maybe the city could charge to use it and slowly recoup the money they spent on it..But whatever is decided..I hope it gets figured out soon. Enough is enough.. It's been years and still no location resolution! United is a good team and they (and the fans) deserve a permanant location!

by CHARMCITYMOM on Jan 9, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

Not that this would change many people's opinions, but I think its important to consider, is that any new football stadium in DC would almost certainly be a retractable roof stadium, which gives it a lot more functionality. DC would bid for Super Bowls, Final Fours, perhaps Presidential conventions, etc.

by Jim Ed on Jan 9, 2013 12:09 pm • linkreport

If Jack Evans has DC pay for the stadium roads and "infrastructure," he'll want to build a special lane like officials in the old Soviet Union used to have, so that DC council members can drive unimpeded to the stadium minutes before kick-off. Otherwise, just like with the Inauguration, he'll get "really furious."

by Bob on Jan 9, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

@Jim Ed,

Any manager of a presidential campaign would be committing political malpractice if (s)he decided to hold the nominating convention in Washington, DC.

by Bob on Jan 9, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

That idea has been floated before, CHARMCITYMOM. It doesn't change anything for DC United. RFK is federal land operated by DC. United would be renting and not controlling revenue. That idea doesn't include a land transfer for other development at RFK and even if it did, it discounts the cost of a new stadium and cleaning the RFK site. It should also be noted it is a memorial stadium. United is better off at Buzzard or even Poplar Point at this point.

by selxic on Jan 9, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

I'm normally a big fan of transit, but a single rail line cannot fill or empty a football stadium in a remotely reasonable amount of time.

At the absolute best, NJTransit's heavy rail line could fill maybe a quarter to a third of Meadowlands Stadium's capacity, while a single Metro line could maybe support half of a football stadium, if you made some very generous assumptions about the system's capacity and efficiency.

Realistically, you'd need 2-3 fully-separated rail lines to fill a football stadium with transit riders. Unless you want to build the stadium on top of Metro Center, there's no good place in DC to put a transit-oriented football complex.

Buses are another option, and not a bad one. However, this option also has a lot of pitfalls that I won't go into here. You'd need a lot of buses, you'd need to convince people to ride them, and you still need somewhere for people to park.

by andrew on Jan 9, 2013 12:51 pm • linkreport

I am opposed to ANY use of public money for a stadium, or anything that would exclusively aid or benefit a stadium, period. Unless the city gets exclusive access to the stadium to use as a municipal resources, no money should be put toward it other than from private funds and the team itself. If the Redskins are to come back to DC, let them figure out how to get here and pay for it. They've got plenty of money I'm sure.

by Matt on Jan 9, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

The red line can move almost 40,000 people per hour in each direction. It's less on the other lines because of shared switches and switch changes.

2. How much development has FedEx stadium spurred around it? Pretty much nada, right? Doesn't bode well for DC.

... besides all the other points that such a large use of land for minimal return makes little sense.

3. PG County only makes money from the stadium in that they have a ticket tax. Without that, they'd get very little revenue from the stadium.

by Richard Layman on Jan 9, 2013 8:53 pm • linkreport

FedEx Field opened only fifteen years ago and cost a quarter billion dollars. Let's call it what it is: Cowboys Stadium went up and Skins fans got envious.

I think a stadium for DC United is a great idea, though. Over the long-term soccer has the largest growth potential for any sport in the district, and the venue could be used for international friendlies that attract world-class talent. Just please, dear God, if you're going to build it make it as absolutely incredible as it possibly can be so people aren't begging to have it replaced in two decades like Nationals Park is destined to be.

by LHomonacionale on Jan 9, 2013 9:30 pm • linkreport

As someone who has lived near stadiums growing in this country and others the Redskins or any team should only go back to RFK if they can fix issues involved with getting the people in and out and not make a hardship on the residents of the area.

Everytime there is a game at Fedex Field or when there were games at RFK; East Capitol ST has backed up for miles and Benning RD when there were games at RFK effecting traffic that went no where near the stadium. It also had people illegibly parking and double parking around the RFK site in the neighborhoods nearby.

I would rather have any stadium built on Kingman Island with a dedicated exit/entrance to 295, pedestrian bridges to everywhere else around there and a infill metro station at even twice the cost of a stadium as there are no benefits for the residents of an area that is almost 100% residential.

by kk on Jan 10, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

Let's say that I proposed to Jack Evans that the District spend half a billion dollars of taxpayer money on a howling, ~100 acre void that is to remain empty 99.7% (=364 days) of the year -- and which has, at its two prior locations, actually correlated with a reduction in commercial activity in its immediate vicinity*. Sounds like a bad bargain, right? Evidently not when the sacred pigskin is involved!

* Correlation is not causation, but since the team moved, Hill East/H St. started gentrifying while Landover Mall has only grown more weeds

by Payton on Jan 11, 2013 1:23 am • linkreport

'Skin's belong in a new stadium built in the parking lot of the current RFK stadium. It is perfectly situated to GREAT parking and quick escape. FedEx Field is HORRIBLE.

by Sue on Jan 14, 2013 10:08 pm • linkreport

@Sue No. That may be what's best for the team, but I can think of no reason they're entitled to the use of Federal land when there are so many better uses for it. That "GREAT parking" is a desert wasteland the other 357 days of the year, separating those of us who live here from the Anacostia River and contributing to the runoff that harms it. I'd dearly love to see it go, not be entrenched for another 3 decades.

by Tim Krepp on Jan 15, 2013 8:17 am • linkreport

...GREAT parking and quick escape...

Two things that make a great city even greater!

by oboe on Jan 15, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

In Dan Snyder's years as owner of the Skins he has created such ill will among DC residents that I believe politicians would find a great deal of resistance to any public money going to help him with a new stadium in the city. And when you throw in the fact that the RFK site belongs to the feds, plus the small number of games that an NFL team plays at home I think the Skins getting a stadium deal done in DC is a non-starter.

A DC United stadium at Buzzard Point makes much more sense, however. It would be much smaller (22-25K), have more than twice as many games, could host other event (concerts, lacrosse, college/high school football championships/bowl games) and would be going into an area that needs revitalization and is near the Nats stadium (making it a natural choice as a sports and entertainment district). United has said they plan to pay for the stadium while asking the city for minimal and reasonable infrastructure support (such as road access, power, sewers, etc., as any large scale development would ask for and get). And finally, when you look at soccer's growth curve it seems a no-brainer.

by Kevin on Jan 22, 2013 7:16 pm • linkreport

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