Greater Greater Washington

Development


To build a soccer stadium, DC will swap the Reeves Center

DC has agreed to a preliminary deal to build a dedicated soccer stadium at Buzzard Point, and to redevelop the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW with a new mixed-use building.


Rendering of a Buzzard Point soccer stadium. Image from DC United.

Under the deal, the stadium would be located at the southern base of Potomac Avenue SW, just 4 blocks from Nationals Park. It would seat 20,000-25,000 people, and cost around $150 million to build. DC United would pay for construction, but the District would donate the land.

Development firm Akridge currently owns the land for the stadium. Instead of buying the land outright, DC would swap it for the Reeves Center. Akridge would then tear down and redevelop the Reeves Center, while United would build a stadium at Buzzard Point.

The deal must still be approved by the DC Council.

Is this a good idea?

Is Buzzard Point the right place for a stadium? Usually it's not a great idea to put two large stadiums so close to each other, because when so much land is given over to sports, there's not enough left over to build a functioning mixed-use neighborhood. That's a major problem with Baltimore's Camden Yards area, with the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, and with most multiple-stadium complexes.

But Buzzard Point may be different. Nationals Park has helped induce strong redevelopment east of South Capitol Street, and along M Street SE/SW, but the west side of South Capitol Street has lagged behind. The west side clearly functions as a different place, and a stadium there could help.

On the other hand, maybe the west side of South Capitol Street hasn't redeveloped as much precisely because Nationals Park superblock is a barrier.

From a transportation perspective, Buzzard Point makes sense. Although it's further from a Metro station than Nationals Park or RFK, it's still within walking distance. And actually, a little bit of distance is a good thing, since it means soccer fans will pass by retail areas between the stadium and Metro, and that the most valuable land nearest the station can still be used for mixed-use development.

On top of the Metro connection, DC is planning for both the Georgia Avenue and Anacostia streetcar lines to terminate at Buzzard Point, directly adjacent to the proposed stadium site.

As for the Reeves Center, it cannot be redeveloped soon enough. A large city office building was a useful and necessary investment along U Street in the 1980s, when central DC was declining. But now the neighborhood is booming, the land is in high demand, and the Reeves Center is obsolete.

In a perfect world, I still think Poplar Point would have been a better location for a soccer stadium. But in the real world, Buzzard Point works. Since DC taxpayers won't be on the hook to pay for construction, let's do it.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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Meh, I like RFK. Easy access, good views, nice atmosphere, can accommodate good range of attendance without problems.

This country is obsessed with destroying "old" buildings and replacing them with shiny new crap.

Look at the German world cup a few years ago. Almost all their stadiums were 70+ years old, but refurbished.

Brazil is also using a good amount of 50+ year old stadiums for their cup, with big refurbishment.

Why is it in this country, when a sports arena turns 20, its time to start building a new one?

Verona has a 2,000+ year old stadium in active use.

Give RFK a new coat of paint, some updated bathrooms, and some fresh concrete.

by JJJJJJ on Jul 25, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

[Deleted by request of the author.]

by goldfish on Jul 25, 2013 9:52 am • linkreport

It's just nice to see a tightly constrained Stadium. You couldn't have really done that with RFK. Better to let that go and then just extend capitol hill all the way to the river.

by drumz on Jul 25, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

I dont understand why the Reeves center needs to be torn down and redeveloped either. There are plenty of lots with less density that could be torn down and built up to better use.

by Richard B on Jul 25, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

@JJJJJJ: ... and trap the feral raccoons, and replace the supporters' sections so they don't act like a trampoline every time DCU has a set piece, and tear off the abandoned and dangerous upper deck, and fill in the gaps in seats where left and right field used to be with something other than an ersatz VW showroom, and remodel all of the catering facilities -- including the ones that haven't been open in years, and

by Kyle on Jul 25, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

Great news it seems like. Reeves is a pox on the area, and to see it torn down (and replaced with something much more productive) will be terrific. Keep putting density along the proposed street car lines, and there is more need/incentive to build the street car lines.

We are giving up something that is worthless (Reeves Center) and getting in return a new stadium, a catylst to development west of South Capital Street, and a brand new mixed-use building at 14th and U (and the corresponding residents and taxpayers that go along with it)

Not to mention all of the additional construction jobs in the meantime, and the related economic activity. Overall this looks like a very solid deal to me. Hopefully they break ground on both sites soon.

by Kyle-w on Jul 25, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

Also, please remember that M&T and Camden Yards together are much larger than Nats Park and DCUtd Stadium. It's really misleading to compare the street level impact of a 70,000 seat, 4-level NFL stadium to a 20,000 seater.

by jyindc on Jul 25, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

Give RFK a new coat of paint, some updated bathrooms, and some fresh concrete.

DC United's issues with RFK stem from several problems:

Old stadiums have high maintenance costs. RFK is especially so. Those refurbished German stadiums you saw in the World Cup were not exactly cheap renovations as you suggest - hardly just a fresh coat of paint. The Berlin Olympic stadium renovation essentially re-built a brand new stadium within the old one; and it had a cost comensurate with a new stadium as well.

Likewise, RFK's fundamental issues for DCU are:

- lack of revenue-generating amenities
- wrong size for DCU's crowds, not built for soccer
- Governance: not under the team's control

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

Agree with JJJJJJ; This tear-down-and-build-new economy is obscene.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

Two words - Win - Win! And now there will be a venue to bring back GW Colonials Football!

by Washingtonian on Jul 25, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

@JJJJJJ: RFK is done. It gave us many good years, but it is time to put it out of its misery.

by microT on Jul 25, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

I'm not really a fan. I think it's far enough from the Metro that people will try to drive.

Also the WaPo link says "with the city providing about $150 million to assemble land and prepare the site " but I'm not exactly clear what that is in reference to. Surely the land isn't worth that much. They are also conveniently swapping land in one of the hottest markets in the city. I dunno the whole thing strikes me as very back room.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

The broad outlines of this deal make so much sense that I can't believe it might actually happen. An additional benefit includes all the DC gov't jobs moving from Reeves to Anacostia. Also, Michael Neibauer at WBJ reported a while back that a new public safety campus might be in the mix. Anyone know if that's still a possibility? Either way, very exciting.

by Dno on Jul 25, 2013 10:06 am • linkreport

Here's one of Germany's old renovated stadiums for the 2006 world cup: Berlin's Olympiastadion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Stadium_(Berlin)

2004 renovation cost: ~250 euros. Adjust for inflation and translate that to US dollars, and you're talking about $400 million.

So, if one were to spend $400 million on a stadium, you could build new or renovate if the old stadium were worth preserving. I'm not sure RFK is.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

Alan B., the details aren't clear but it looks like the Reeves center (valued at about $100 million) is part of that 150 mill figure. And the city will have a new mixed use site with amenities and residents to tax at 14th and U, so the net costs would be significantly lower over time (if not a net benefit) on that part of the deal alone (not factoring construction jobs, jobs associated with the new stadium, any attendant development in SW, etc.)

by Dno on Jul 25, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

I'd like to see Buzzard Point renamed "Point Pearl," in honor the famous ship that slipped away into the night in 1848, as a protest against slavery.

by Jay Roberts on Jul 25, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

If you are against this stadium deal. You are probably against every stadium deal. Because this is really a great deal for the city. They get to keep soccer in DC, spur development in an underdeveloped industrial area, add density and tax revenue to U Street, and bring jobs and workers to Anacostia. This will net the city money in tax revenue. And the city gets all of that for just swapping land.

by natgreene on Jul 25, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

The Camden Yards complex does to a certain extent stop expansion of the Federal Hill neighborhood westward. But I would argue that i-395, freight railroad, and Russell street do the same (between which the stadiums are squeezed).

In other words - its unlikely that a nice mixed use neighborhood would have sprung up their any way. If the stadiums weren't there (even ignoring their economic impact), you would still likely have light industry as they do in the rest of the area between Russell and 395.

Of course you never know.

Camden is probably the bigger violator of potential mixed use space (being closer to downtown and less hemmed in by highways - but it likely would have just been subsumed into the massive medical complex to the north), but it also is the bigger driver of the economy.

More than anything its the parking lots, not the stadiums that are the biggest problem. That isn't as big of an issue for Nats park, and I'm sure it won't be for a small soccer stadium.

by TomA on Jul 25, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

re: DC United Stadium deal

lack of revenue-generating amenities

This is the big one. Not sure what the deal w/ DCU is, but when Chicago was using the legacy stadium, they were paying the stadium authority rent for each game. All concessions and parking went to the stadium authority--none to the soccer team--who then went on to split it with the Bears under an existing arrangement.

Aside from everything else, RFK needs to go because of the endless sea of surface parking that surrounds it. That's completely inappropriate for an urban area, and it represents a massive opportunity cost. This deal is pretty much a win-win-win.

by oboe on Jul 25, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

whats the future of RFK? Is that land available to be developed? Will it require an act of Congress? What are Del. Norton and Rep. Issa saying?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

I'm a soccer fan and would love to see a soccer-specific stadium in the District. I'm also generally skeptical of stadium deals. So far, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this deal. The swap aspects make it more confusing.

If it's a good idea to build a stadium here (and it seems like it to me), why doesn't DC or the team just buy the land?

And if it's a good idea to relocate the Reeves Center (and it seems like it to me), why doesn't DC just do that?

I guess sometimes you need a little logrolling to make a deal work. But it does make it more confusing for the public to tell whether we're getting swindled.

by Gavin on Jul 25, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

@Dno
Alan B., the details aren't clear but it looks like the Reeves center (valued at about $100 million) is part of that 150 mill figure. And the city will have a new mixed use site with amenities and residents to tax at 14th and U, so the net costs would be significantly lower over time (if not a net benefit) on that part of the deal alone (not factoring construction jobs, jobs associated with the new stadium, any attendant development in SW, etc.)

Yeah, but the city could just SELL the Reeves Center and pocket the money and get the amenities and residents to tax.

It doesn't count as something extra the city gets if the city could just do it anyway.

Cost-Benefit as I see it:
Benefit: City gets new soccer stadium + economic benefits of that
Cost: $2.6M Tax abatement, foregone property value of Reeves Ctr (estimated value $100-$150M) & whatever property they have to give Mark Ein. (reportedly totals $150M)

by MLD on Jul 25, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

"On the other hand, maybe the west side of South Capitol Street hasn't redeveloped as much precisely because Nationals Park superblock is a barrier. "

Theres a new apartment building on South Capitol right across from Nats Park. Despite being located on the traffic sewer that South Capitol St is.

http://apartments.camdenliving.com/dc-metro-washington-dc-apartments/camden-south-capitol/default.aspx

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

Outdoor NHL game in ... 2016, anyone?

by Tim on Jul 25, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

And how much is the city going to have to pay to replace the Reeves center office space?

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

RFK & parking:

http://goo.gl/maps/sRNIG

In contrast with National's park & parking:

http://goo.gl/maps/hNj9A

You'll note that pretty much all of the surface lots near Nationals Park are essentially "land banked"--and can be converted to retail/residential use as the economics of the neighborhood change. Not so RFK. That's pretty much a dead zone forever until the stadium's torn down.

by oboe on Jul 25, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

natgreene, how would this bring jobs and workers to Anacostia when it's in SW?

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

Kyle,

The bouncing section is an amenity.

The second level is neither dangerous, nor abandoned. In fact it gives the stadium a huge advantage in that low attendance games dont feel out of place, but theres always room to scale up for bigger crowds.

Yes, a cheap renovation could include seats in those empty VW areas.

Alex B, yes Germany spent a lot, but thats because it was the world cup. RFK doesn't need to be upgraded to be the world focal point, just enough to be safe and comfortable.

Could be done with incremental updates, like what was done with Fenway. Every off season, they redid something. New seats one year, new video/sound the next year, new bathrooms the year after etc.

The whole revenue argument is bogus. If government org A is being a money parasite, doesnt it make more sense to renegotiate that? Buy them out?

by JJJJJJ on Jul 25, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

MLD... You are right the city could just sell the Reeves center. That's why this deal is being labeled as "costing" DC $150 million. But the "cost" will not come from the DC budget. Because DC isn't spending money on the swap. Instead, it is sacrificing potential revenue from the sale of Reeves for all the benefits mentioned.

by natgreene on Jul 25, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

Alan B. -- because they are moving the DC govt. workers from Reeves to Anacostia as part of the deal, as well as building a new building there.

by natgreene on Jul 25, 2013 10:35 am • linkreport

@JJJJJ,

Not to sidestep your salient points, but tearing down RFK (and downsizing, and eliminating the sea of parking) is the most attractive feature of this deal, not an unfortunate side-effect.

by oboe on Jul 25, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

I think this may be a precurser to bringing the Redskins back to RFK. The Committee of 100's plan which would have moved RFK's roofline up to get new seating and luxury boxes. You can be sure the new United Stadium and any new Redskins stadium will have plenty of luxury skyboxes for District Council members.

It'd be wonderful if we used our resources to get a decent transit system in DC instead. Too bad there are no luxury skyboxes on streetcars.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

"It'd be wonderful if we used our resources to get a decent transit system in DC instead. "

This should be a motivator for prioritizing the M Street streetcar line.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

@JJJJJJ

Who is going to pay for all of that? Those incremental improvements you speak of (which will cost millions, and likely tens of millions)

by Kyle-w on Jul 25, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

Wait, didn't the post office *just* move to the Reeves Center within the past year? Do we know where it would go?

by dcviolet on Jul 25, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

@natgreene
MLD... You are right the city could just sell the Reeves center. That's why this deal is being labeled as "costing" DC $150 million. But the "cost" will not come from the DC budget. Because DC isn't spending money on the swap. Instead, it is sacrificing potential revenue from the sale of Reeves for all the benefits mentioned.

Sure it doesn't come from the current budget, but if replacing the Reeves Center with taxpaying residents and businesses is something we want to do, then that cost comes out of a future DC budget in which we do that.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost

You have to take that cost into account if we are to decide if this is a good deal or not. Instead we are told it is a good deal because we get all this great stuff and look the impact on the budget is $0!

I mean, if I give you my $35M Van Gogh and you give me a candy bar it didn't show up on my credit card statement but would you say that's a great deal?

by MLD on Jul 25, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

whats the future of RFK? Is that land available to be developed?

My understanding is that there are a lot of federal restrictions on how that land can be used. For the most part, it must be used for recreational purposes.

by Falls Church on Jul 25, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

It's a bit far from the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street SE. Just over a half mile from there to the northeast side of the proposed soccer stadium. I guess the walk won't be too bad if people are walking through areas with shops & restaurants, though the pedestrian experience walking along South Capital Street and eventually crossing it will presumably be tough to improve.

Can't wait for 14th & U to be redeveloped. The Reeves center is a POS. Good riddance.

by Aaron on Jul 25, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

I see no reason for DC to spend $300 million on a soccer stadium (or any other facility) for the exclusive use of a private organization. There is strong evidence that such money NEVER has a net positive return on investment, but is favored by politicians who get to award contracts to donors and get their picture next to sports stars. $300 million could retrofit several DC schools, complete a bike network, or repay bonds.

by SJE on Jul 25, 2013 10:45 am • linkreport

Awsome news. The Reeves center is horrible. I hope they develope a public space on the Reeves center site. The stadium will do wonders bringing life to that part of the city and hopefully help envigorate the efforts to enliven the water front. Then let's get that street car line down there. DC just keeps getting better, sooo lucky to live here.

by Thayer-D on Jul 25, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

"It's a bit far from the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street SE."

The areas closer to the station should be developed with more intense uses such as offices, residential, etc.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

yes Germany spent a lot, but thats because it was the world cup. RFK doesn't need to be upgraded to be the world focal point, just enough to be safe and comfortable.

Depends on who you are asking. RFK isn't economically viable for DCU as it is (or other teams - that's why the Redskins left, that's why the Nats left). Upgrades to 'safe and comfortable' won't suddenly make it profitable; nor does it ensure that those upgrades are cost-effective.

If you want to understand the desire for this to happen, you must put yourself in the team's shoes.

Could be done with incremental updates, like what was done with Fenway. Every off season, they redid something. New seats one year, new video/sound the next year, new bathrooms the year after etc.

Sure, they could do that. But Fenway was worth saving. I'm not sure RFK is.

Many baseball teams built new stadiums because they were stuck in multi-purpose joints that were not good places to watch a baseball game. Fenway did not have this problem, as it already was built for baseball. For the Red Sox, after their push to build a new stadium failed, they found that renovations were cost-effective. The reason is simple: the basic stadium did not need to be changed, and the basic stadium had value.

I'm not sure either of those are true for DCU. RFK has memories, sure - but the basic layout of the stadium is not suited for DCU's needs or for the sport of soccer. The value proposition of Fenway is preserving charm and location, but that's far less of a draw with RFK.

The whole revenue argument is bogus. If government org A is being a money parasite, doesnt it make more sense to renegotiate that? Buy them out?

Sure, but you must assume that renegotiations are possible.

DC does not own RFK, the National Park Service does. DC has a long-term lease with the Feds to use the land for stadium purposes only. This makes governance complex. It's a nut that Jack Kent Cooke couldn't crack. The Council took a stab at it as an alternate site for the Nats stadium, and the risk of trying to negotiate with those federal interests is a doozy.

And even if you worked out those governance issues, it doesn't change the fact that RFK just doesn't have the kind of revenue-generation opportunities that a pro team needs. You'd have to drop a lot of money to make those things happen, and at that point, you'd still be stuck with a lot of RFK's downsides. So, then, the team logically concludes that it needs a new place of its own.

It's sad, but the fundamental logic of multi-purpose professional sports stadiums has failed. You can make it work when you've got two sports with a) common ownership and b) similar playing surface sizes as we have with the Verizon Center and the Caps/Wizards. But forcing baseball and football and soccer together means the stadium must be a jack of all trades, master of none.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

Just one point of contention with the original posting:
"Nationals Park has helped induce strong redevelopment east of South Capitol Street, and along M Street SE/SW"

Most (all?) of the credit for redevelopment can go to the Navy, followed by DOT. If there are solid statistics attributing redevelopment to the Nats stadium, I'd be interested to see that.

by Rich on Jul 25, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

@Tim,

It may wind up being sooner than that (2015 at Nats Stadium is my hope). Apparently the Caps were supposed to be in the Winter Classic that was in Boston in 2010 (I do not remember this, and it sounds odd to me but that's apparently the story), but NBC wanted better ratings so switched us out. In exchange for agreeing to do the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh the next year, the NHL told us we'd have our shot at hosting "soon" (nb--consider the source. Bettman. Enough said).

So, because the schedule had been set through the 2013 game, it seemed like we'd be up for 2014, especially because that would be the time Team USA would announce its hockey roster for the Olympics, and we're DC, and NBC loves that kind of thing.

But thanks to Bettman's Third Lockout, the 2013 Winter Classic in Michigan was canceled, and they've been promosed they'd get it this year. So now, the NHL triply owes DC. In my opinion at least.

by Catherine on Jul 25, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

Let's not conflate two separate things. The Reeves Center could be sold and offices moved to Anacostia totally outside the stadium deal. The question is whether the valuation of the Reeves Center and the gift of the land for the stadium is in the best interest of the city.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

@Tim, Catherine:

They'll never do a winter classic in this DCU stadium. I'm all for this deal, but not for that reason. 25,000 people is just too small for that event, and if we get one in the near future, it will almost certainly be at Nats Park (and god help us if they put the game at FedEx... shudder).

by JES on Jul 25, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

The Camden Yards complex does to a certain extent stop expansion of the Federal Hill neighborhood westward. But I would argue that i-395, freight railroad, and Russell street do the same (between which the stadiums are squeezed).

You mean M&T Bank Stadium?
Ridley's Delight is west of Camden Yards, and is nicer than the neighborhood to the east which is marred by the Federal Reserve

by Richard B on Jul 25, 2013 11:09 am • linkreport

It appears to be a win win but the devil is really in the details.

The opportunity to do something else with the RFK land is the big mystery variable to me but based on other comments it doesn't sound hopeful.

But a couple of other details others have not mentioned:

Are there not very few daytime office jobs on U Street? If the answer is yes is it not a problem to lose some/most of those jobs which might make it harder for U Street to support a more diverse mix of businesses and not rely solely on restaurants that in turn count on alcohol sales?

Is there going to be any parking by the new DC United Stadium?

Are the relocated jobs from Reeves going to be in a transit friendly location? If not do the current agencies have a lot of walk-ins that ought to be in a transit friendly location? And do we know that those jobs will be in City owned buildings?

Also can the DC United stadium actually be used for other events? Nats Park hosts 81+ events a year and draws 30,000+ to those events which nets out to a lot more users than the DC United stadium so I'm skeptical just the DC United stadium will be a big catalyst which makes me wonder if it's distance from Nats Park isn't a liability? Or maybe we don't want it to be too much of a catalyst?

by TomQ on Jul 25, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@JJJJJJ - Why is it in this country, when a sports arena turns 20, its time to start building a new one?

I agree with you that 20-year turnarounds are ridiculous (the Seattle Sonics moving to OKC is the foremost example of how a fight over that can turn into a disaster), but RFK is already 52 and, as Alex B. covered better than I ever could above, no longer a good fit for any of the region's professional sports. Almost anything that replaces it would be a boon to DC. Governance of the site is complex, but having no cultural obstacles to getting rid of the decrepit stadium there is a big step towards something better.

I really like this deal and think the location in SW is very cool. The expansion of SW as a big-event cultural district is all right by me.

by worthing on Jul 25, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

@ Alex B.
Can't soccer and baseball work in the same stadium well enough?
Because it's sooooo far outside the beltway, it has probably escaped the notice of most, but they're building a baseball/soccer stadium in Loudoun County right now. Granted, they're not national leagues, but maybe there's some lesson there?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edelman_Financial_Field

by Rich on Jul 25, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

To make this happen DC is losing a property worth $100+ mil. All this for a soccer team that was valued by Forbes at just $50 mil. I think Lew is misrepresenting this. We are forfeiting potential revenue that is equal to twice the value of the sports team in question. Why don't we just spend another $50 mil and buy the team? They are just going to blackmail the city into building them a new stadium down the line. I believe Packers style ownership structures are illegal in the NFL but I don't know about the MLS.

by LamondNick on Jul 25, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

The thing about RFK is opportunity costs as well. If you can get rid of the stadium and the legal restrictions (not easy admittedly, but easier now that no sports team is playing there). Then you've got an opportunity that is unrivaled in DC.

by drumz on Jul 25, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

Can't soccer and baseball work in the same stadium well enough?

Not really, no. Look at the shape of a soccer field, and look at the shape of a baseball field.

It is, quite literally, a square peg into a round hole.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

@JES,

Yes, I didn't make it clear, but the idea was to host the 2014 game at Nats Park for both the capacity reason you cite, but also because they hadn't even announced the new DCU stadium plan until today.

If the NHL does keep its word (::snort::) and gives DC the game and then puts it at FexEx....just....no. That place is an embarrassment. I think they might do just that though. After having this year's at the Big House (setting the word record for the highest attendance at a hockey game), they'll never go to a venue under 75,000 ever again.

by Catherine on Jul 25, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

Only in America could one say that it's "a bit far" to walk from Navy Yard Metro to Half St. It's about .7 miles.

by thump on Jul 25, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

*"I fear they'll never go to a venue under 75,000..."

by Catherine on Jul 25, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

Congress wants to reduce the deficit. Wouldn't selling the RFK land go towards that? The money goes to the feds and does not have to stay with NPS, right?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

There's no way the Reeves site is worth $150M. I know the block-long site next to me and a block down from Reeves for a similar development was $8M two years ago. There's a lot else we aren't being told. For instance, is DC agreeing the replacement for Reeves will be tax-exempt?

I agree we should sell property we have openly (and honestly). In the District of Corruption these backroom deals are never the most favorable for the taxpayers.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

This seems like a win-win-win-win.

1)The District can get a tax-generating property at the prime 14th/U Street location.
2)Moving the Reeves Center employees to Anacostia will help provide jobs and encourage development east of the river
3)Razing RFK (hopefully the NIMBYs don't try to get it declared historic) will encourage the redevelopment of that site to a walkable community with prime river access.
4)This will encourage further redevelopment of the Southwest waterfront area and spillover from this will provide even more momentum to the development at the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront.
5)This will provide an impetus for the District to sell the land that the SW DMV site and the DMV vehicle inspection facility currently occupy. Hopefully the federal government will sell the large 1960s-era US Post Office facility and surface parking lot located on Half Street and the Capital Police vehicle maintenance facility. There is no reason why any of these should be located in what is going to be a very walkable neighborhood served by two metro stations going forward.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

Seems like a reasonable deal for all parties involved.

The Reeves Center is certainly in need of refurbishment. While it's possible the building might be torn down, a well-developed, mixed-use project, whether new construction or redo, will be the capstone to the U Street's recent renaissance.

As for Buzzard Point, I second the idea mentioned above to rename it Point Pearl. How did the name Buzzard Point come about anyway?

by Sage on Jul 25, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

Tom, then what do you make of those estimates on the value of the Reeves Center in the Post article?

by LamondNick on Jul 25, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

LamondNick:
"To make this happen DC is losing a property worth $100+ mil."

No, not true. The District does not collect one cent of property tax revenue from the Reeves Center, despite its location at the prime 14th/U Street intersection, one of the best locations in the District. There is also only very marginal retail here (the shoe repair business?), again despite this prominent location. This means that the District is not collecting the 10% restaurant tax here or sales taxes from ground-floor retail. This will change if Akridge can redevelop that. I guarantee you that any condos or apartments at this location will be very expensive. The District will be able to get property taxes every year from the 200-300 $1 million condos that would be built there.

Additionally, as Southwest and the South Capital Corridor are developed, the land occupied by the Southwest DMV facility and vehicle inspection site (with the large surface parking lots) will become significantly more valuable. Selling these and relocating them will bring the District significant new revenue as well.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

At the very least I'd like to see a solid commitment to redevelop RFK as part of this deal. How do we know it's not going to just sit there for another 20 years?

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

Both the stadium complexes in Philly and Baltimore are surrounded by a sea of surface parking. Neither the Nationals stadium (despite the awful parking garage) or the DC United stadium will be.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

Also can someone actually cite good sources for cities that definitely have used stadiums to redevelop areas? They might be out there, I just don't know of any.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:42 am • linkreport

"Let's not conflate two separate things. The Reeves Center could be sold and offices moved to Anacostia totally outside the stadium deal."

Sure, but then we're no closer on keeping DC United in the city, which the Council is on the record supporting in concept. With this deal we can do that and make those swaps at a cost (net of increased tax revenues) somewhere significantly south of $150 million (though I'm sure the CFO will have to project just how far south of that number before all is said and done). I rarely attend DC United games, and realize that some awful stadium deals have been made across the country, but this one seems good for the city.

by Dno on Jul 25, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

But also again the Reeves Center offices relocation and Stadium deal are really two seperate issues. The city ALREADY has a location in Anacostia to move them to that is no way predicated upon making this deal so that is not a valid argument.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

@Aaron:It's a bit far from the Navy Yard Metro station at Half Street SE. Just over a half mile from there to the northeast side of the proposed soccer stadium. I guess the walk won't be too bad if people are walking through areas with shops & restaurants, though the pedestrian experience walking along South Capital Street and eventually crossing it will presumably be tough to improve.

I don't know the neighborhood well, not being a baseball fan, but would it be possible to create some sort of underground mall in the area? It's never done around here and I've seen it work so well in Europe that I wish people would try.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Jul 25, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

That implies they have somewhere else to go? Has any other location made them a serious offer. Seems premature to cite fear of their departure until there is an actual offer on the table.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

202...

DC also doesn't collect taxes on the Wilson building. What's your point? Land is valuable in DC. The government doesn't need to give it away. It can sell it. The Post article had $100 mil as a low estimate on the Reeves Center. This is all just an attempt to hide the cost.

by LamondNick on Jul 25, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

SJE wrote: "I see no reason for DC to spend $300 million on a soccer stadium (or any other facility) for the exclusive use of a private organization. There is strong evidence that such money NEVER has a net positive return on investment, but is favored by politicians who get to award contracts to donors and get their picture next to sports stars. $300 million could retrofit several DC schools, complete a bike network, or repay bonds."

You really don't understand a thing about this deal, do you SJE?

No public money will be spent for anything except the building of the new Reeves Center in SE, which is an appropriate use of funds for economic development. This is a creative deal that will benefit not only DC United and their fans, but also the 14th & U area and southeast DC.

No money will leave the city's treasury, and their will be no new taxes or bonds.

Akridge will give their land in SW to the city in exchange for the Reeves Center at 14th & U. The city contributes the land to the deal, United pays for the stadium and Akridge redevelops the Reeves site.

Brilliant and complex deal.

by Kevin on Jul 25, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

Alan B.
"Also can someone actually cite good sources for cities that definitely have used stadiums to redevelop areas? "

Sure-- AT&T Park has helped encourage the redevelopment of Mission Bay in San Francisco (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=128118), Petco Field has helped encourage the redevelopment of the Gaslamp neighborhood in San Diego, and although you disagree with this, the Nationals stadium has helped encourage the redevelopment and growth of the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront (note slides 38-50: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NTEyODAyfENoaWxkSUQ9MTk0MzQ4fFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1 ).

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

Kevin, why does there need to be a land swap to sell the Reeves Center? It's completely unecessary. All this is at the end of the day is the city giving up/buying really land to build the stadium. The fact that is being presented as so complex makes it more suspicious when it could be easily disentangled.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

@Catherine, yes, DC was slated to host the 2010 Winter Classic at Nats Park, but NBC didn't feel like the Caps (and the opponent whose name I was never able to confirm, possibly Philadelphia) would be a big enough national draw. The Caps consolation for this was to have to go to Pittsburgh the following year--although the Caps managed to extract a concession that assured every Caps season ticket holder a seat in Pittsburgh.

It is believed the Caps passed on hosting one of the additional outdoor games during the 2013-2014 season (there's multiple ones on the schedule), because they want--and feel they deserve--the marquee outdoor game. But don't look for it it be held at the new soccer stadium. The NHL was willing to go to Wrigley and Fenway because those are iconic places. But they're not going to give up the ticket revenue of 40,000+ they can get out of Nats Park.

I suspect 2016 is more likely, once the build-out of the lots around Nats Park is complete.

by Birdie on Jul 25, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

Everyone is assuming the new building replacing Reeves will pay property taxes. That's not been the case in most "private" developments where DC is involved as a "partner". I'll be surprised if it isn't done as a long-term lease so that the new building will be tax exempt. If so, we'll be taking a big potential residential parcel off the tax rolls in SW and keeping a big tax-exempt parcel off the tax rolls at 14th and U. (I'd expect sales-tax abatements to be in the package too).

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

I'm not familiar with the SF example but I will read up on it. The Forest City link didn't anywhere credit development in the area to the baseball stadium and there were certainly no numbers to back it up.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

opportunity costs are real. The cost IS 150 million - cause DC COULD sell the reeves center, add life and tax revenue at 14th and u, without doing the stadium deal.

UNLESS the political and bureaucratic inertia are too great to sell Reeves - in that case the opportunity to sell must be discounted by costs and delays. After watching whats happened at Hill East, McMillan, Im not sure its obvious that a sale would take place without considerable difficulty.

OTOH, as T Coumaris states, this is not transparent. If DC were selling the center, they would solicit bids, not just sell to one developer at a "reasonable" price. Deals like this lead to mistrust of the development process, and that is a cost. At any rate it offsets the admin costs of selling.

Now keeping the team and reviving that part of SW may be worth the 150 million. But the cost IS 150 million, not zero.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

I mean, if I give you my $35M Van Gogh and you give me a candy bar it didn't show up on my credit card statement but would you say that's a great deal?

To straighten out your example..

I would say it would be the equivalent of someone trading a poorly used asset (Van Gogh locked in the basement) for a better performing asset for a $30,000,000 ski lodge in Vail that will be put to great use, (Buzzard Point Land) $5,000,000 in cash, and as a side effect, to get a real estate tax abatement (hugely increased tax revenues at former Reeves) and as a side effect getting a big company to locate near a huge chunk of land you have an interest in (DC Govt workers moving to Anacostia)

by Kyle-w on Jul 25, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

there are folks here who think nats park made a big difference, some who think it made no difference. I think the consensus is it made a small difference - there was plenty of momentum in the area by 2008, and there would likely continue to have been.

OTOH the area where the DCU arena will be is somewhat more desolate, so it may make more difference.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

The main thrust of the SF article seems to be: "In total, Mission Bay is slated to include nearly 4 million square feet of office and lab space, as well the 2.6-million-square-foot UCSF campus and the 2.5-million-square-foot UCSF hospital. Blout said he is optimistic enough that Mission Bay will be fully built out and occupied that the city should start thinking about other parts of the city where life science development makes sense. Hunters Point Shipyard and Pier 70 are both possibilities, he said."

Not really sports related is it? I'd have to give the upside to the university on this one.

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

Would this be too far away from Nationals Park (or the Expos as they've been playing like recently) to have a shared-parking arrangement with that stadium? This would minimize the amount of new parking that would have to be built.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

"I would say it would be the equivalent of someone trading a poorly used asset (Van Gogh locked in the basement) for a better performing asset for a $30,000,000 ski lodge in Vail that will be put to great use,"

If you assume they couldnt motivate themselves to get the VanGogh out of the basement without the Vail ski lodge, than the cost of the VanGogh is zero. they go a 30MM ski lodge for nothing. If they COULD have motivated themselves to sell the Van Gogh, then they just paid 30MM for a ski lodge - which may or may not be a good deal, but the sale of the Van Gogh has nothing to do with it.

Whether DC could have sold the Reeves center, and done so expeditiously, I leave to others.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

Ok and now I'm going to just say if sports facilities are such draws why isnt the area around RFK and FedExField booming? Seems like you're arguing that they should be because thats what sports facilities do?

by Alan B. on Jul 25, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

oh, thats easy - cause those don't have urbanist designs, appropriate nearby zoning etc.

The real comparisons are places like Verizon center or Nats Park, about which we have argued ad nauseum.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

I would say it would be the equivalent of someone trading a poorly used asset (Van Gogh locked in the basement) for a better performing asset for a $30,000,000 ski lodge in Vail that will be put to great use, (Buzzard Point Land) $5,000,000 in cash, and as a side effect, to get a real estate tax abatement (hugely increased tax revenues at former Reeves) and as a side effect getting a big company to locate near a huge chunk of land you have an interest in (DC Govt workers moving to Anacostia)

Hah, does the DC government really need the stadium deal in order to encourage itself to move to another place in the city? Please, you're rewording things to make it sound like that's some big win.

Who has posited how much the stadium is worth in terms of benefit to the city and whether that is remotely comparable to the $150M spend/opportunity cost involved here?

I'm not totally against stadium construction, the issue is that this is not transparent at all yet it is being trotted out like it's some huge win for us. Who knows if it is or isn't?

by MLD on Jul 25, 2013 12:09 pm • linkreport

@Alan B:

RFK is surrounded by surface parking lots and abuts the Anacostia. It is located a lot farther from the downtown core than either Nats Park or this soccer stadium will be. That limits its potential. There are probably a half dozen other reasons that other people can point out as well.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

to those who day that the DCU arena is free cause Reeves is underused

Could DC have traded Reeves to a developer in exchange for the developer building a streetcar line? In exchange for a developer bringing an anchor into Skyland? In exchange for a massive jobs training program?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

Great idea with the Reeves Center. It is a useless albatross of District real estate. It is half empty as it is, poorly built to begin with and costs a fortune for the taxpayer to maintain. Get the parcel back on the tax rolls and the best part, I won't have to stare at Marions oversized ego (I mean name) on the side of the building.

I seem to be the only person in town who knashes his teeth at any taxpayer involvement in building toys for billionares. We act like it is such a great deal that they will pay for construction, when the land is always the most expensive part anyway. Like the baseball stadium the cost of land acquisitions will end up being ~2 or 3 times whatever amount we are told at the onset and it just annoys me.

Lastly, I will never understand why we didn't build a two stadium development at the Navy Yard when the stadium was going up. The space was there, the city was shelling out anyway, it is right on the metro and would have provided a better anchor for the retail that has suffered to gain a foothold there since.

All in all, I am a big "meh" on the whole thing.

by Reeves on Jul 25, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

"Hah, does the DC government really need the stadium deal in order to encourage itself to move to another place in the city? "

Its not inconceivable, is it? Inertia, agency resistance to moving, a public skeptical of developers and the gilded age on 14th street - I mean Reeves isnt McMillan, but couldnt you see a sale being held up for years, absent soccer fever? Or am I wrong about the state of District politics?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

@A Walker --

The difference has more to do with number of sporting events and the culture. Obviously the Nats play at home many multiples the total number of Redskins games. The key question is many home games/year will DC United play? Also, pro football stadiums, even in an urban area, want acres of surrounding parking because of the tailgate culture, which cuts down on adjacent development.

by Sarah on Jul 25, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

AWalkerInTheCity:
"whats the future of RFK? Is that land available to be developed? Will it require an act of Congress? What are Del. Norton and Rep. Issa saying."

I was wondering the same thing. RFK is more than 50 years old. Will the NIMBYs try to get this declared historic? They've certainly tried to get pretty ridiculous things declared historic before (Friendship Hts bus garage wall, surface parking lots).

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

If, as Alkridge claims, the Reeves Center is worth up to $185M then I say sell to totally a.s.a.p. and use the money from that and the new property taxes to rebuild the Columbia Streetcar line on 14th.

But the new building next to me of similar size and a block away just sold to Chase for $70M. So there's no way the site itself is worth $185M or $150M.

There's more to that valuation that we aren't being told yet and the PR method is to build enthusiasm for the deal before the details come out.

At a minimum I expect whatever's built at the Reeves site will be property-tax exempt and have other tax abatements.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

sarah

Im aware that Fed Ex gets less use cause of the NFL schedule.

But when we are comparing RFK used by DCU, and a new soccer arena used by DCU, the schedule is presumably identical. Any difference has to be design, parking, zoning, not the schedule.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

Something smells here. A bunch of the "in money crowd" making a deal for their advantage and trying to convince residents it is for them. Bull!!

by Janice on Jul 25, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

SJE:
"I see no reason for DC to spend $300 million on a soccer stadium (or any other facility) for the exclusive use of a private organization. There is strong evidence that such money NEVER has a net positive return on investment, but is favored by politicians who get to award contracts to donors and get their picture next to sports stars. $300 million could retrofit several DC schools, complete a bike network, or repay bonds."

1) 200-300 new $1M condos at 14th/U Street will bring DC more tax revenue.
2) Redeveloping RFK from a sea of parking lots to a walkable neighborhood with new housing will bring DC more tax revenue.
3) Selling the two DMV properties in Southwest (M Street and Half Street) will bring DC more revenue.
4) Relocating the Reeves employees east of the river will encourage more economic development in Anacostia, bringing DC more tax revenue.
5) Having an active neighborhood in Buzzards Point with restaurants (with the 10% restaurant tax), retail etc... will bring DC more tax revenue.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 12:23 pm • linkreport

Buzzard Point is quite a hike from the Metro, the streetcar is a long way off -- and most importantly the blocks south of M Street are pretty much immune to change. Almost all of it, even the affordable housing along 1st St SW, is in co-op or condo ownership, and good luck getting any of them to agree to change. Indeed, OP just launched a small area planning process for Southwest but designated the entire swath south of M pretty much off-limits. (I personally dream of converting some of the modern rowhouses along M to mixed-use, but I think their immediate owners probably already despise me for thinking that.) The only real scope for redevelopment is of the industrial areas south of P St, so I'd expect any urban energy to be directed along Potomac Ave across to Navy Yard Metro instead of toward Waterfront Metro.

@MLD: correct, Mark Ein and Pepco still need to be bought out, so any excess cash from selling/swapping Reeves will be . Pepco will need considerable reimbursement because even though its land contribution is small, substations are difficult to move infrastructure. Mark Ein was speculating on this (didn't know he owned the Kastles, too - must be bullish on SW) and won't come cheap, but an equivalently speculative parcel will probably do. What else does the city own? Hill East?

@dno: Additional office building swaps, like the police HQ or One Judiciary Square, are probably eventually in the offing but not as part of this deal.

@AWITC: Since RFK is ultimately under federal control, NCPC gets to plan for its future. Here's their plan (PDF).

@Tom Coumaris: No indication so far that Reeves will be subject to tax exemptions, hence the "land swap." The team will get one for their parcel, though.

by Payton on Jul 25, 2013 12:28 pm • linkreport

Anyone who doubts whether Nationals Park was a catalyst for redeveloping the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront neighborhood should see this presentation: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NTEyODAyfENoaWxkSUQ9MTk0MzQ4fFR5cGU9MQ==&t=1.

A few thousand US DOT employees (when most likely live in Maryland and Virginia) isn't what is leading to the construction of 10,900 housing units. It is amazing to see some of the very same people on this blog argue that there is very little/no reason to keep the FBI headquarters in DC turn around and argue in complete sincerity that it was the US DOT headquarters alone and not the Nationals stadium that encouraged the growth at the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

Sounds like a good idea except that some of the space in the Reeves building had been promised to community centers like the DC Center who will now be left with no place to go. While I wouldn't expect the city to bend over for a handful of community organizations it made promises too, I do hope that they will remedy the situation by finding equally accessible and visible space for the DC Center and others in the building. Nothing sucks more than a city that makes promises and then caves on them for something as ridiculous as yet another sports stadium.

by Matt S. on Jul 25, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

202

thats a 54 slide presentation about the development in the area. please tell us which slides demonstrates that it was due to Nats Park?

It was clearly not only due to USDOT. It was due to proximity to Capitol Hill at a time when DC offices and residences close to downtown were at a premium (and residences still are) - due to the demolition of the Capper/carrolsburg - due to NavSea and its contractors - and due to USDOT - AND due to Nats Park.

also there is a big difference between US DOT HQ as built, and what the FBI is proposing for their new HQ in terms of design, acreage, etc.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

"200-300 new $1M condos at 14th/U Street will bring DC more tax revenue."

but why is selling reeve contingent on the stadium deal?

"2) Redeveloping RFK from a sea of parking lots to a walkable neighborhood with new housing will bring DC more tax revenue."

granted.

"3) Selling the two DMV properties in Southwest (M Street and Half Street) will bring DC more revenue."

assuming SW doesnt develop absent the stadium. At least not at the same pace.

"4) Relocating the Reeves employees east of the river will encourage more economic development in Anacostia, bringing DC more tax revenue."

again, why is that contingent on the stadium deal?

"5) Having an active neighborhood in Buzzards Point with restaurants (with the 10% restaurant tax), retail etc... will bring DC more tax revenue."

okay, sure

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

@202_cyclist: It's impossible to prove, but I wouldn't credit the Nats with either the residential or (especially) the office growth in the neighborhood. That would have happened regardless, just because of citywide demand for both. Restaurant and entertainment (i.e., cinema) markets are not citywide and would never have happened without the stadium, and they in turn help to feed (hah!) the residential and office demand.

by Payton on Jul 25, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

People keep mentioning the Navy Yard Metro, but it looks to me that the proposed site is pretty much equidistant to both that and the Waterfront station.

by Juanita de Talmas on Jul 25, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

@202_cyclist: also, please take a look at NCPC's RFK plan before dreaming too big. Most of the site is in the floodplain. The sea of parking will make for awesome playing fields, but not "a walkable neighborhood with new housing." The upland parts by the Armory could at most accommodate 2MSF of development, which is nothing to sneeze at but not giant. That development could also happen without touching RFK itself.

by Payton on Jul 25, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

There's a cinema near the Navy Yard?

by MGM on Jul 25, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Regarding RFK, the fedeal government is a in a deal-making mode these days. The fed govt. of course auctioned off the Georgetown heating plant and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has held several hearings on surplus govt property.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

@MGM:

I multi-screen cinema is coming. The DC Water and Sewer plant is being relocated to make room for that.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

Here is info about the proposed movie theater at the Navy Yard/Capital Riverfront: http://www.jdland.com/dc/index.cfm/3763/Negotiations-Ongoing-to-Bring-Movie-Theater-to-DC-Water-Yard/ .

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

@AWITC

Absent this deal, Reeves will stay in place for many many years. DC Government is simply not going to have the energy or willingness to make this move, absent being forced too (via this transaction)

by Kyle-w on Jul 25, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

@Birdie, yes I forgot about the STH thing.

I know for SURE they'd never put a Winter Classic in a place as small as the proposed DCU stadium, I replied to Tom originally saying it might be sooner than 2016, and implied but forgot to explicitly say that it would be in Nats Park. Now, however, I have my doubts that NHL would be willing to have the Winter Classic in a place as small as Nats Park, after the 100,000+ they're about to get at the Big House.

Your info about the Caps having passed on a Stadium Series game or another outdoor game actually confirms this a bit. NHL kind of owes Caps a Winter Classic but only offer a lesser game. I say the Caps hold out for the Winter Classic itself. They were done wrong in 2010, played nice in 2011 and were allegedly promised 2014. But then again, the NHL doesn't consider its actual contracts binding, why would they consider a backroom carrot on stick even worth considering honoring?

by Catherine on Jul 25, 2013 1:19 pm • linkreport

Reading comprehension always falls before pre-conceived opinions.

SJE says there's no reason for the District to spend $300 million. Good thing they won't. The deal terms project the District's cost to be half of that...to buy land parcels, and prepare local infrastructure to accommodate the stadium -- a stadium that the team will be financing.

As for Coumaris's comment about the Reeves center not being worth $150 million -- possibly it's not, but the $150 million is meant to cover the acquisition of other parcels, from other landowners -- not Akridge -- as well as demolition and other infrastructure improvements. The $150M spending is unrelated to the value of the Akridge land or Reeves Center.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 25, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

I've been following the DC United stadium saga from the beginning and I think this is a tremendously good deal for both the team and the city. This can't happen soon enough, in my opinion.

by Eric K on Jul 25, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

Either stadiums bring new development or they don't. If Nat's Park was such a catalyst why is this parcel so close to it so worthless? Personally I think they're as much a barrier to residential development as freeways.

And I think Buzzard's Point would be a great location for intense residential and office development under a master plan. Increase the height limit there, solicit international proposals, and let a world-class development go there that pays taxes.

Relocation of some of the James Creek Housing residents will have to eventually come, as hard as that might be. Otherwise we're looking at a small stadium separated from the rest of SW by those low-density projects.

Many of us are getting tired of these continual secret deals with politically-connected local (suburban) developers that the PR makes into such great accomplishments. They're not, they're not only corrupt but 2nd rate not deserving of a world-class city.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

"Either stadiums bring new development or they don't."

its quite possible that they do, but not a lot.

"If Nat's Park was such a catalyst why is this parcel so close to it so worthless?"

Cause its too far from the ballpark, whose gravitational pull is too weak to extend much over 1.4 mile away. Plus across the barrier of S Cap.

"Personally I think they're as much a barrier to residential development as freeways. "

Big pricey apartment building just across the street ON South Cap.

"Many of us are getting tired of these continual secret deals with politically-connected local (suburban) developers that the PR makes into such great accomplishments. They're not, they're not only corrupt but 2nd rate not deserving of a world-class city."

I agree this should be done in a much more transparent fashion.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 1:42 pm • linkreport

The South Philadelphia sports complex is actually fairly genius. It accomplishes some pretty great things:

- It keeps most of Philly's sports teams, their staff, and their revenue, actually in the city. In a region where not too far away, the football and soccer teams form New York actually play in a swamp land in New Jersey, this is an important feat.

- It allows fans going to games to use one subway line, the Broad Street Subway, to get to a football, baseball, hockey, or basketball game. If you've ever sat in line for an hour to leave a baseball stadium parking lot, you have to appreciate this. I've been in traffic jams leaving suburban stadiums, and I'll take the subway to regional rail lines over that any day.

- It makes use of land that was "a shanty town" that was beyond city limits up until the 20s. There wasn't actually a solid, historical residential neighborhood here.

And lastly, there actually are several thriving neighborhoods of longtime residents just outside of the sports complex area. It's normal dense South Philadelphia down there. There are even some fairly desirable homes, because of the larger homes on Broad Street between Pattison and Oregon Avenues that front large tracts of green space created by divisions along Broad.

by Joseph on Jul 25, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

@Dan Malouf: DC United would pay for construction, but the District would donate the land.

According to the Post article, the land would be leased to DC United for 25 to 35 years, indicating that it would not still be owned by the DC government. I think that's a very important fact that should be clarified.

by 7r3y3r on Jul 25, 2013 2:04 pm • linkreport

Lost in this discussion is that some of the $150 million is going to infrastructure improvements at Buzzard Point which is currently quite barren. So those demanding a thorough account of the costs vs benefits (good on ya) can probably subtract whatever that amount turns out to be since the city would have needed to spend on infrastructure no matter what if it wants to make use of that area (at least I can't think of a major development around here where the developer paid for new streets, sidewalks, sewage, etc).

by Dno on Jul 25, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

- I hope the new development at 14th and U would include some office space as I think 14th Street could handle to be more commercial and thus more mixed use.

- By the time they build the streetcar, I hope they figure out how to have it go down Capitol Street so that it can go over the bridge and connect to Anacostia because having it dead end in Buzzard Point is awkward.

- Since DC United is going to have all four blocks, they should move the stadium to the east 10 feet so that the sidewalk along 2nd street isn't under an overhang. And they could close of 1st street during events, if not close it off completely, since moving it to build the stadium puts it close enough to Half Street to make it redundant. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/soccer-insider/files/2013/07/stadium-aerial.jpg

by 7r3y3r on Jul 25, 2013 2:12 pm • linkreport

The rendering also shows the terrible design for the South Capitol St/Potomac Ave Racetrack traffic circle! Vroom vroom!

by MLD on Jul 25, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

@ Payton--

You are absolutely right. Much of the RFK site, including the parking east, south and north of the stadium are on a flood plain. The land is owned by the Federal government, I think originally the park service and so any intensive use east of the north-south Water St. axis is probably a non-starter. There is still plenty of space identified for commercial and residential development, although the stadium site itself is envisioned for a monument or perhaps a major cultural feature. See the NCPC report (2006) for redevelopment concepts and constraints.

http://www.ncpc.gov/DocumentDepot/Publications/RFKStadiumStudy.pdf

by Sarah on Jul 25, 2013 2:41 pm • linkreport

I am not opposed to this agreement but what is interesting is that DC used eminent domain to force the gay clubs into leaving SE DC when they were developing the baseball stadium. Why are they offering these large businesses and developers such a sweetheart deal? I find these differences curious.

by Eric on Jul 25, 2013 3:05 pm • linkreport

The land is owned by the Federal government, I think originally the park service and so any intensive use east of the north-south Water St. axis is probably a non-starter.

From your link:

NCPC planners believe the RFK site should be an environmentally friendly gateway into the monumental core. It should include a large waterfront park, with
recreational fields and open space, augmented by commemorative works and connected to the surrounding neighborhoods by pedestrian and bicycle paths. The interior of the site should include new residential and retail development. The retail element should include restaurants and cafés as well as service-oriented businesses such as dry cleaners and bookshops. A proposed new commemorative attraction, such as a museum, across from the D.C. Armory building, which is adjacent to the stadium, would attract a steady flow of visitors to the area.
Sounds like, right or wrong, the NCPC is operating on the assumption that this parcel will be redeveloped with residential and retail.

by oboe on Jul 25, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

I haven't gotten through all the comments here, but they seem to be mostly positive, so let me dump a pot of cold soup on it all.

I think it's way to early to call this a "great deal" for the city. It's all structured very oddly and it makes it hard to tell what DC is getting and what they're really paying for it. In other words, what are the costs and what are the benefits?

1. Why are we giving MLS $150 million? What makes soccer (or pro sports) so special? Didn't we just discuss how stadiums are money losers for cities? I'm having trouble seeing the return on investment on this. And I suspect that the real cost will be much more than $150 million. I don't understand why MLS can't just pay for this all themselves the way - y'know - every other DC business does. My neighbor wants to open a restaurant in DC, will the city pay for half of it? If not, she's moving it to PG County.

2. It's not like we need this stadium to redevelop Buzzard's Point. We could just sell the land to a private developer. We've done it before and it has worked. Developers do build in areas that aren't adjacent to a stadium. And there's no reason to believe it will work better if there is an infrequently used soccer stadium there.

3.When people are calling the Reeves Center worthless, they aren't thinking clearly. It's worth millions.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 3:45 pm • linkreport

Oboe,
Exactly right. NCPC envisions the western side of the RFK site for intensive residential and retail (some 20 acres), the location opposite the armory for a museum or federal building and roughly 80 acres in the floodplain for parks and recreation. The study is an interesting read.

by Sarah on Jul 25, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

"Sounds like, right or wrong, the NCPC is operating on the assumption that this parcel will be redeveloped with residential and retail. "

one chunk residential and retail, one chunk something "monumental" like a museum or govt building, and a big chunk recreational - on the large parts that are flood plain.

So definitely better than whats there now, but not what might imagine if one thinks every single acre is going to be high density mixed use.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 3:50 pm • linkreport

"I am not opposed to this agreement but what is interesting is that DC used eminent domain to force the gay clubs into leaving SE DC when they were developing the baseball stadium."

I seem to recall that Jim Graham tried awfully hard to work a special deal for those clubs.

by Sarah on Jul 25, 2013 4:00 pm • linkreport

AWITC -- NPS land sales don't go to the fed. budget I think. The issue about rec. use is an easement is on the land. To extinguish the easement, DC would have to pay the NPS. (Which is what was done for the McMillan site.)

202_cyclist: "the federal govt." isn't one entity, you mention the gen. fed govt., the post office, and Cap. Police (Architect of the Capitol/Congress). Each is a distinctly different legal entity with different responsibilities and different budgetary effects from land sales. USPS is interested in dev. deals. AOC not, unless the House of Representatives is grandstanding (e.g., during the Gingrich years, and even then I don't think much happened). Etc.

by Richard Layman on Jul 25, 2013 4:11 pm • linkreport

Sarah- Graham opposed the clubs moving to his ward but eventually one, Secrets, got an exception to re-open. It will be torn down for the soccer stadium.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 4:13 pm • linkreport

As others have pointed out we could just sell the Reeves Center and use the money to build the replacement on land we already own. So, that's not really part of this deal.

And we could just close RFK and redevelop that land (or whatever people think is going to happen there) so that's not part of this deal either. In fact, it isn't part of this deal at all.

So what we're doing is buying land which we will lease to DC United (at what price?) where they will build a stadium with significant help to us. That's the deal. Everything else is extraneous. I'm not sure why we need to kick in $150 million towards that - instead of spending that on streetcars.

Especially when you consider that we could just let developers develop that land in SW and reap all the tax benefits of that. Maybe DC United needs DC's help pulling the land together, but they should pay for that, not DC.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 4:14 pm • linkreport

CityPaper is now reporting that the police headquarters on Indiana Av and the Rec Dept warehouse at 13th and S will probably be given away in the deal too.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2013/07/25/mpd-headquarters-park-building-on-table-for-stadium-swaps/

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 4:19 pm • linkreport

Prof. sports and ec. dev. is such a tough issue. There is no question that at the metropolitan scale they don't contribute to ec. dev. At the jurisdictional level, they can, especially for businesses located by the stadium.

DC gets screwed because it can't assess income taxes on games in the city, unlike other jurisdictions, which reduces significantly the economic impact of the facilities.

The real issue is how much is the facility used, how well is it integrated into the fabric/area beyond the facility, what is the financial arrangement between the govt. and the team, etc.

E.g., I don't exactly agree with Dan's characterization of the stadiums in Balt. I think that the area would be a lot like it is regardless. However, he is absolutely right that the stadiums don't contribute to the creation or maintenance of a mixed use district like Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.

Similarly, while I argue that Verizon Center didn't "revitalize the east end" for the same reason that you can't argue that Nationals Stadium is the key element for revitalization of the Capitol Riverfront because in both cases development was mostly triggered by the dissipation of available sites in the core CBD, even I have to admit that both places are key elements in the revitalization program in those places. But key is the fact that both facilities have lots of events and do bring people to those areas. Although scheduling of events in Verizon Center is designed to reduce the likelihood that people will spend money outside of the Verizon Center.

So the sites listed by 202_cyclist, like ATT Park and Petco Field, are legitimate examples, but would prove my point that they integrate into other fabric (new or old) in ways that most stadium projects, especially football stadiums, which have a limited number of events, do not.

You could counter with examples from Atlanta or Philadelphia. But if they had been in better places, maybe the impact would be more like Verizon Center or Madison Square Garden or Wrigley Field or Fenway Park.

(OTOH, these facilities do have negatives too. E.g., the book by Costas Spirou on the impact of night baseball on Wrigleyville.)

by Richard Layman on Jul 25, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

How is development of all of that private land going right now, David C?

by selxic on Jul 25, 2013 4:20 pm • linkreport

Selxic, it's not. Because we haven't tried to do it. We haven't sold the Reeves Center. We haven't decided to shut down RFK and develop the parking lots. PEPCO hasn't sold the land it has in SW (which only recently became available).

But that's an argument for trying harder to encourage development. Not an argument for giving away land.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

I knew the Reeves Center couldn't be worth $150M, but it and 300 Indiana and the Rec Dept Warehouse would be. In fact I'd say 300 Indiana would be worth at least as much as the Reeves Center and the Rec Warehouse is certainly worth more than it's appraisal of $5M.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 4:39 pm • linkreport

Richard Laymen:
"The real issue is how much is the facility used, how well is it integrated into the fabric/area beyond the facility, what is the financial arrangement between the govt. and the team, etc."

Exactly-- this is what I posted the other day on here. The details matter. A small stadium (Verizon Center) that is used frequently, well-integrated with the surrounding neighborhood, and does not contain much or any surface parking could be a catalyst for development.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

@David C -- to address your questions/points:

1. Why are we giving MLS $150 million?

Because the team adds value to the city and the stadium can be a big part part of a vision to develop around South Capitol. Unlike your friend's restaurant, other businesses are likely to attach themselves to this project.

2. It's not like we need this stadium to redevelop Buzzard's Point. We could just sell the land to a private developer.

Private developers already own parts of it. The city owns a piece, where the salt dome is, and PEPCO owns a big chunk, as do Mark Ein and Akridge. For DC to sell that land, they'd have to buy it. Ditto for the developers. That this hasn't happened privately suggests it will take some push from the city, which is already involved anyway.

3.When people are calling the Reeves Center worthless, they aren't thinking clearly. It's worth millions.

People are thinking clearly. It's sucking up valuable real estate that could be generating high-income economic activity there. No reason for the city agencies to be located there...when they could be located elsewhere and generate some lower level economic activity where that's needed.

As far as RFK goes, it's not in the deal because the land does not belong to the city. It's federal park land, and the city has a lease for the exclusive purpose of building and operating a sports stadium. At least, Congress saw value in that, even if you don't.

You're entitled to your opinions, but they must be based in fact, if you want to be taken seriously. When facts run counter to your thesis, saying it more earnestly doesn't make it a better argument.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 25, 2013 4:51 pm • linkreport

on current development in SW. Im mixed. yeah, some of that land is available now for development, but like Dave C says, not all of it is. Thats one barrier.

The other thing is time. Its now July 2013. We got one new apt building on S Cap near the ballpark, thats only one but its a start. The surge of new residential may be slowing down a bit, as all the stuff now in pipeline comes on stream, but there will be new stuff happening again. Could be in SW. Office market outside the CBD and NoMa is just weak.

And to be fair, I guess the uncertainty about DCU has held back anyone considering doing a megaproject there.

If the DCU idea were simply killed (assuming it wont happen without DC help) then I suspect that developers might wait till the Wharf is further along, and till the office market near the ballpark tightens, but then they would move into buzzards pt. Esp as the street car gets finalized.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 4:56 pm • linkreport

"When people are calling the Reeves Center worthless, they aren't thinking clearly. It's worth millions.

People are thinking clearly. It's sucking up valuable real estate that could be generating high-income economic activity there."

thats precisely why its not worthless. Its not the building thats worth millions, its the land. and the land could be sold for cash. unless DC politics is so dysfunctional that a sale can't be done without soccer fever to motivate, as someone said above.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 25, 2013 4:58 pm • linkreport

@ Tom C -- you keep mixing apples and oranges. The $150 million has nothing to do with the Reeves Center or any property the city owns. It's a set-aside to buy the properties adjacent to the city piece and the Akridge piece, as well as to make considerable infrastructure improvements in the area tying the bridge to stadium access and fixing up Potomac Avenue.

As for the MPD piece, which was most decidedly not mentioned today -- that would be the best part of the deal for the city if earlier rumors surrounding that do materialize. The idea had been floated to give up the parcel (and others) to one (or more) of the developers involved. What the city would get in exchange besides greater revenue and tax receipts is the privately financed construction of a new public safety campus, bringing the police, fire and EMS together.

If that happens, I think this would go down as one of the most exemplary public/private real estate deals ever. At a very small cost to the city, it would gain a new stadium anchoring development in a rundown area of town, much-needed new homes for the public safety agencies and all the new development in other parts of the city that isn't happening either because the city holds the land or because nothing is happening there (Buzzards and Anacostia). Very creative and brilliant.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 25, 2013 5:00 pm • linkreport

Any half-way intelligent city has plenty of tools at it's disposal to encourage development in an area. Zoning, tax abatements, etc. But the one huge change necessary for Buzzard's Point to redevelop as anything other than maybe a stadium is the James Creek Dwellings project. Something the city alone can do anything about.

If new housing for those residents could be arranged that area and Buzzard's Point would be ripe for development. But so long as those low-density projects are there cutting off Buzzard's Point, they will be a barrier to any meaningful development.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 5:10 pm • linkreport

Something only the city can do anything about.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

And another reason to support this:

"The District will pursue (i) re-sequencing options so as to
advance construction of the Buzzard Point/Downtown
streetcar line, and (ii) the construction of a streetcar stop adjacent to the Stadium Site."

http://oca.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/oca/page_content/attachments/Soccer%20Stadium%20Term%20Sheet%20%28executed%20copy%29.pdf

This should address all of the concerns about how 20,000 fans will access the stadium when there is only a two-lane road and it is .6 miles from two metro stations.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 25, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

The $150 million has nothing to do with the Reeves Center or any property the city owns. It's a set-aside to buy the properties adjacent to the city piece and the Akridge piece, as well as to make considerable infrastructure improvements in the area tying the bridge to stadium access and fixing up Potomac Avenue.

So the $150M is in addition to just giving Akridge prime real estate at 14th & U?

by MLD on Jul 25, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

So the $150M is in addition to just giving Akridge prime real estate at 14th & U?

The land swap would involve cash and mutually-agreed on valuations.

So, if the parties agree that the Buzzard point site is worth 10 million, and the Reeves Center is worth 100 million, then the two parties swap sites and exchange cash to make up the remaining value (in this hypothetical, $90 million).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/mayor-gray-dc-united-reach-tentative-deal-on-soccer-stadium-for-buzzard-point/2013/07/24/b3c6594e-f315-11e2-ae43-b31dc363c3bf_story_1.html

In the highest-profile swap, the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, at 14th and U streets NW, would go to D.C.-based developer Akridge in exchange for about two acres of Buzzard Point, nearly a quarter of the land needed for the stadium, and cash to make up an expected difference in the value of the two properties.

The key part being: "and cash"

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

I am not opposed to this agreement but what is interesting is that DC used eminent domain to force the gay clubs into leaving SE DC when they were developing the baseball stadium. Why are they offering these large businesses and developers such a sweetheart deal? I find these differences curious.

I wasn't living here when this happened, but this part of the deal has always smelled foul to me too. Many of those sites were not displaced by the stadium, and remain vacant today.

by andrew on Jul 25, 2013 6:00 pm • linkreport

Although the swap is actually a good deal considering what happened with Nationals Stadium, my first thought on this was on what would happen to the DC Center which is planning on moving into the Reeves Center on a 15-year lease starting in September. Their current location is already slated for development and the Reeves Center location would have provided a more consistent base for LGBT resources but now that this could possibly happen it would really suck to see them get the boot right after settling in.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2013/07/25/soccer-stadium-would-displace-d-c-center-gay-nightclub/

by Shayne2 on Jul 25, 2013 6:16 pm • linkreport

I think it's a good plan. Congrats to the Council. Now if they could just tear down that obsolete eyesore, RFK and put the site to better use - like turning it into a neighborhood.

by ceefer66 on Jul 25, 2013 7:24 pm • linkreport

Given the city won't have to use any taxpayer funding for the proposed stadium, it might now be more amenable to some kind of partnership to bring the Redskins out of Maryland and back to RFK.

by Cooper on Jul 25, 2013 9:24 pm • linkreport

I can certainly understand the point that AWITC and Yglesias make: that selling Reeves is a great idea, but one that needn't be tied to the stadium. Then that gives the city maybe $186M (minus the cost of Reeves 2 in SE) to spend on citywide priorities. Like sports fields on the RFK north parking lot, miles of streetcars and trails, a new MLK library & justice center, whatever.

Or maybe a phased redevelopment of Greenleaf, James Creek, and Syphax Gardens plus the DMV facility, all of which is probably to be contemplated in the Southwest Small Area Plan.

BTW, anyone know of any covenants specifically on RFK lot 3, the one NW of the stadium and across from the Armory? I know about the "recreation only" covenant on RFK, but otherwise that lot looks to me like a nice, clean, flat, well-drained, and free 10-acre parcel for a new soccer stadium. (Well, besides the skate park, which could be moved east into the floodplain.)

by Payton on Jul 25, 2013 10:05 pm • linkreport

Because the team adds value to the city

That would be the presumed reason, but does it? And how much value are we talking about?

the stadium can be a big part part of a vision to develop around South Capitol.

It's one vision for sure. But I don't see why DC has to pay for that vision. Why can't the current land owners and the current team owner pay for this vision? Isn't that what we normally expect businesses to do? Invest their own money and take their own risks?

It's sucking up valuable real estate that could be generating high-income economic activity there.

The city may very well have an underutilized asset. But that is the exact opposite of saying it's worthless. Selling it may very well be a good idea, but if we give it away as part of deal, we aren't getting something for nothing, as some seem to assert.

As far as RFK goes, it's not in the deal because the land does not belong to the city. It's federal park land, and the city has a lease for the exclusive purpose of building and operating a sports stadium.

Right, so looking at this deal as though the development of RFK will naturally follow is a mistake. That may be a benefit, but there is no reason for confidence about thtat now.

At least, Congress saw value in that, even if you don't.

Congress? Wow, I'm surprised. Because they always do such a good job of making decisions in line with my values.

You're entitled to your opinions, but they must be based in fact, if you want to be taken seriously. When facts run counter to your thesis, saying it more earnestly doesn't make it a better argument.

I'm sorry, which opinions are you talking about and which facts run counter to them.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 10:52 pm • linkreport

It's misleading to say the swap is Reeves for the United Stadium. Reeves is a swap for the 2 acres Alkridge has. The Ein property and the Pepco property will also require 400 Indiana and the Rec Warehouse (at least) for the stadium. 400 Indiana is as valuable as Reeves. By the time all the details come out we'll be giving away much more than the stadium will be worth. And of course DC United will have to pay for the stadium construction. DC is borrowed to the limit still for Nats Stadium meaning we can't borrow more for anything else.

I think the feds would give us a better swap for 400 Indiana and especially for 1 Judiciary Square, which they've always coveted.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 10:56 pm • linkreport

And another reason to support this:
"The District will pursue (i) re-sequencing options so as to
advance construction of the Buzzard Point/Downtown
streetcar line, and (ii) the construction of a streetcar stop adjacent to the Stadium Site."

So we had a plan for streetcar deployment based on a number of predetermined values. But now, to benefit one privately run business that employs a few dozen people at best, we're going to move one line further up in the queue and every other line further down.

How is that another reason to support this?

"Hey Georgia Avenue, you'll have to wait a few years for that streetcar line, but on the upside some millionaires who don't even live in DC (or America in some cases) are going to make more money. Isn't that great?"

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 11:00 pm • linkreport

Given the city won't have to use any taxpayer funding for the proposed stadium, it might now be more amenable to some kind of partnership to bring the Redskins out of Maryland and back to RFK.

Hey, I put $20 bucks into lottery tickets and won $17 of it back. I think I'll invest my winnings in some beanie babies.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 11:05 pm • linkreport

Is the complaint that money is not being spent on street cars (when it actually is) or that you don't know when the street car network will be expanded and you don't like that your neighborhood isn't prioritized the same, David C?

by selxic on Jul 25, 2013 11:20 pm • linkreport

@selxic, How is development of all of that private land going right now

To make my point from earlier, the PEPCO land hasn't been available.

"The utility decommissioned the generation units on the site in May of [2012], but its substation there remains operational."

And PEPCO has been negotiating with DC and DC United to make the location a soccer stadium since 2010.

So the reason it has never been developed is that DC has ONLY worked on developing it as a soccer stadium.

by David C on Jul 25, 2013 11:21 pm • linkreport

Available to who? Are you pretending PEPCO is the only private land that is part of this project or that DC needs to try to develop private land, David C?

Also, your timeline is off. DC did have a proposal for this land to be used for the stadium in 2010, but PEPCO wouldn't even take part of discussions until 2012.

by selxic on Jul 25, 2013 11:40 pm • linkreport

The Anacostia and Georgia Av streetcar lines were always supposed to terminate at Buzzard's Point. (If they're ever built).

This is about prioritizing using our assets for a soccer stadium INSTEAD of a streetcar system, with a promise that yeah, we'll get to a streetcar system someday. DC is on an edifice quest, not a transit quest.

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 25, 2013 11:41 pm • linkreport

For the love of God, just do not let Jack Evans go anywhere near the negotiating table. And also do not let him have anything to do with design decisions. I still remember him proudly trumpeting that the baseball stadium would be a retro throwback like Camden Yards, but instead be modern. Modern being code for cheap and ugly.

by MV Jantzen on Jul 26, 2013 1:02 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: some factual corrections.
1. I linked above to a WBJ article stating that OCFO valued Reeves and 300 Indiana at well over $186.7M and $175.8, respectively.

These are useful and large buildings with good bones, not vacant land; the price for Reeves works out to about $373/foot, which is perfectly in line with Class B office. Class A apartment buildings on 14th are selling in the $600/foot range. Akridge presumably signed off on the renderings released which show a reskinned and expanded Reeves.

2. Secrets is east of Half Street and not part of the proposed land assembly. Not sure how word got out there that it'll be demolished.

3. The term sheet states that DCU will pay a PILOT to start and will start paying taxes down the road. I'm not aware of tax exemptions for several major projects that I know of where D.C. held and later sold land, e.g., CityCenter, McMillan, the Wharf. These received TIF, but that's very different.

4. No way is Mark Ein walking away with eight figures for his land. He bought it for $2.175M in 2011, which is still what it's assessed at, and I can assure you that land prices in Southwest have risen but not skyrocketed since then. Pepco can be paid in kind, with regulatory favors.

by Payton on Jul 26, 2013 1:40 am • linkreport

A couple thoughts:

1. Can we stop pretending that the Ackridge/Reeves land swap is just the city getting pennies on the dollar for the 14th & U site. Yes, the Reeves site is worth around $100MM more than the 2 acres Ackridge owns, but - very, very importantly, cash will apparently also be coming from Ackridge along with the parcel on Buzzard Point. LINK.

2. The point that the city might have been able to sell off the Reeves Center site independently of this is well taken. But that's not what's on the table, and it's not guaranteed. There are reasons to think that such a sale would have taken years and years to complete, leaving the city with an underused asset on 14/U and legal fees to boot. The soccer stadium, in the apparent judgment of city officials, presents an opportunity to move that site, generate cash with which to build a new Reeves Center (plus other stuff - there's potentially a lot of cash coming from Ackridge) and spur development in Southwest. The fact that the city could have done it differently does not lead to the conclusion that the city should have done it differently.

by Adam M Taylor on Jul 26, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

@AMT -- Interesting stuff, if the developers involved would pay big bucks to make up valuation differences. That would squelch the giveaway meme. One question remains why the city was saying its piece in this is $150 million. They've pledged between $40-$50 million for demolition, remediation and infrastructure work.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 26, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

Payton -- probably your best bet is to contact the NCPC report authors. I have always presumed that the easement covers the entire parcel of land, regardless of sub-use, because the entire parcel came from NPS and the laws and regulations which guide how they do land transfers and leases are very specific.

by Richard Layman on Jul 26, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

Is the complaint that money is not being spent on street cars (when it actually is) or that you don't know when the street car network will be expanded and you don't like that your neighborhood isn't prioritized the same

Neither. The complaint is that the streetcar schedule is being reshuffled to the benefit of one private business to the detriment of everyone else. We had a process for developing the timeline that considered many factors, and now that has just be thrown out just to aid MLS.

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 10:16 am • linkreport

Available to who?

To anyone.

Are you pretending PEPCO is the only private land that is part of this project

No I'm not pretending at all. But I'm talking about PEPCO as one example of why development has not occurred in Buzzard's Point. They own almost half the land there. I suspect that DC was talking to Mark Ein and Akridge too, so that could explain why they haven't developed those lots either.

or that DC needs to try to develop private land, David C?

What are you asking?

Also, your timeline is off. DC did have a proposal for this land to be used for the stadium in 2010, but PEPCO wouldn't even take part of discussions until 2012.

I don't see how that matters. If I tell you I want to buy your house and you say you don't want to talk about it, we've still started negotiations. DC let PEPCO know that they wanted the land, so that had to impact PEPCO's decision making.

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

David C:
"Neither. The complaint is that the streetcar schedule is being reshuffled to the benefit of one private business to the detriment of everyone else."

And why is this a problem? Infrastructure is built where people and activity centers are. 25,000 people is a pretty significant destination.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 26, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by selxic on Jul 26, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

Why is it in this country, when a sports arena turns 20, its time to start building a new one?

RFK stadium is actually 52 years old, not 20 years old.

by Scoot on Jul 26, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

very, very importantly, cash will apparently also be coming from Ackridge along with the parcel on Buzzard Point

Actually what Tony Robinson said is (emphasis mine) "But he confirms that if there's a difference in valuation, a cash payment MIGHT accompany the swap." This despite a nearly $100 million difference in value.

Furthermore, what a swap with cash sets up is a situation where both sides will exclusively negotiate with the other. The buyer and seller will agree on a price with no one else able to match or outbid the buyer. Obviously such an arrangement is good for the buyer. In this case, DC is a buyer for one property and the seller in the other. This might seem like it balances out, but DC is selling a property at least 10 times more valuable than the one it is buying. To use an earlier analogy would you rather have the exclusive right to buy the Van Gogh or the candybar?

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport

And why is this a problem? Infrastructure is built where people and activity centers are. 25,000 people is a pretty significant destination.

Because the streetcar schedule was the result of analysis and prioritization based on publicly determined criteria. A study done in 2003 called "DC’s Transit Future (DCTF) System Plan and Alternatives Analysis(AA)" which consisted of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of alternative modes and levels of investment in 14 corridors across the District. That resulted in three Phases of recommended streetrcar deployment. A later study in 2010 refined that.

Now, I like that. I like a fact-based analysis that results in a plan based on pre-determined criteria.

I don't like short-circuiting that process in a way that throws out that criteria and creates a new plan to appease one business owner. If DDOT has re-performed that analysis to account for the addition of a soccer stadium (and even that represents special treatment) then fine, but there is no indication that they have.

So, that's the problem. We've replaced careful analysis-based prioritization with sweetheart deals for connected businesses. I prefer analysis. Perhaps you do not.

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

I see I am being slammed for my $300 million error. Fair point. But I disagree with those who think that this is not costing the city anything, or that it will have positive beneifts. Of course, its always SOLD as being free.

My larger point remains: these sorts of deals are usually bad for everyone except the developer and the politicians. As David C notes, the is no real "negotiation": just two sides who are interested in their own benefits, but not necessarily in the benefits to the public. There is a huge body of evidence showing that there is no net positive economic development. Even for the much touted Camden Yards in Baltimore.

If DCU wants to build a new stadium, they can pay for the land and the facility like anything else.

by SJE on Jul 26, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

This post nails a lot of the probelm

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/07/25/dc_united_stadium_deal_better_than_most_still_pretty_rotten.html

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

Yup I agree. I'm not always in like with Yglesias but he pretty much expresses my sentiments exactly. I'm not even against the deal, but I don't like that they are being so shady about it.

by Alan B. on Jul 26, 2013 12:41 pm • linkreport

So, that's the problem. We've replaced careful analysis-based prioritization with sweetheart deals for connected businesses.

Well, sure... but that careful analysis was performed before we knew DC UNITED WUZ COMING!!! WOOO-HOOO!

:)

by oboe on Jul 26, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

David C:
"Because the streetcar schedule was the result of analysis and prioritization based on publicly determined criteria. A study done in 2003 called "DC’s Transit Future (DCTF) System Plan and Alternatives Analysis(AA)" which consisted of a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of alternative modes and levels of investment in 14 corridors across the District."

It seems to me that the city hsa changed a bit in the ten years since this was published. It makes more sense to build the streetcar network that the District needs as it exists today, rather than a decade ago when there were 60,000 fewer residents. Plans should be able to adapt.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 26, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

Plans should be able to adapt.

You're right (though the plan we're working on is only 3 years old). But the process for adapting should be transparent and pre-defined. It should not be something that can be done by the Mayor without any analysis to back up those adaptations.

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

Aparently the problem is that DC United can't make a profit at RFK. Maybe they just aren't profitable! Why can't they play at Nationals Park? Oh yeah, we paid for that stadium and gave it to the baseball team, because they whined about RFK. If you give candy to one child, they all want it. Time to stop the madness.

by SJE on Jul 26, 2013 1:37 pm • linkreport

Nats Park was a condition of the Expos coming to DC. A DC United stadium has been in the works before the Expos ever thought they were moving. If not for Nats Park, they would likely be playing in a Poplar Point stadium for DC United.

by selxic on Jul 26, 2013 4:29 pm • linkreport

@SJE

Maybe if you compared the lease situation at RFK as compared to any new arena or stadium built since 1992, you might better understand why your statement is erroneous.

by Andrew on Jul 26, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

Andrew: Please explain.

by SJE on Jul 26, 2013 5:38 pm • linkreport

- Relationship of team to venue (payment versus revenue)
- boxes and club seats
- taxes
- advertising revenues

These are just the higlights that put DCU at a competitive disadvantage to virtually every other team in their league. Really, do a little research before making unfounded statements about "whining". And as @selxic indicated, the construction of a new stadium for the Expos/Nationals was a pre-condition of moving the team from Montreal.

DCU was apparently close before, to getting this deal, but the economy and lack of political will scuddled it before. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very small investment for a very high return for the residents of the city, in my opinion.

by Andrew on Jul 26, 2013 5:45 pm • linkreport

Andrew:
That is entirely correct, but IMO irrelevant to the core point.

1. Getting a new stadium WAS central to the Expos moving: but I think it was wrong for the city to agree to this. It was a bad deal for the city, and it remains a bad deal if we re-do this for DCU. Its not like DC would be nothing without a major league team.

2. I agree that the different revenue streams are important. This, however, underscores the fact that many sports teams are only marginally profitable, if at all, and survive through a combination of (a) revenue sharing with the larger and more profitable teams(b) government largess.

My point is that this is not a good use of DC money.

by SJE on Jul 26, 2013 7:07 pm • linkreport

In the grand scheme of things, this is a very small investment for a very high return for the residents of the city, in my opinion.

$150 million to get one business that employs a few dozen people is not "small" in my opinion. And, how exactly do you calculate the return? What will the value of this deal be to DC in the long run - and I'm specifically talking about the soccer stadium (not the other unrelated pieces that have been rolled into this like some sort of 8 kidney mass transfer)? Here's one analysis that brings that benefit into question.

by David C on Jul 26, 2013 8:06 pm • linkreport

David C:
"$150 million to get one business that employs a few dozen people is not "small" in my opinion."

At least try to be honest in your response. This will likely employ more than a few dozen employeess. At the Nats games, there are at least a few dozen people outside scalping tickets and selling hats, water, and peanuts.

You fail to mention the several hundred construction jobs this will create, the revenue from the 10% tax on food/drink, the sales tax on merchandise sold at the stadium (which will be an ongoing revenue source year after year), and economic activity from retail surrounding the stadium that this induces.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 27, 2013 8:41 am • linkreport

Again, going back to my original post, whether the stadium is a good/bad investment depends on:

1) whether the city negotiates a good deal,
2) how frequently the stadium is utilized,
3) whether the stadium is well-integrated with the surrounding neighborhood,
4) and is this going to be surrounded by a lot of parking.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 27, 2013 8:44 am • linkreport

We hear a lot about "construction jobs." Didn't we learn something from the 2007 crash? More important than construction jobs is WHY you are building and WHAT is being built. IOW, what happens after whatever is constructed. If you build new facility that employs or houses tens of thousands of people year round (who have jobs) the construction was a good investment. Stadiums (Stadia) are not, as shown in study after study. I first read about the stadium boondoggle in the Economist back in the late 90s, so its not like this is some new and radical idea of mine.

by SJE on Jul 27, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

1. Buzzard Point gets developed.

2. Reeves Center gets the wrecking ball, improving the fabric of one of DC's busiest intersections (and as I Realtor, I hope they put in a ton of housing inventory). Government buildings are dead weight outside of 9-5 Monday through Friday. Also, it's ugly and cheap looking.

3. Opens up RFK for future development.

I don't see a downside.

by Michael on Jul 27, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

@SJR and David C

1) The stadiums, both of them, draw entertainment dollars into the District. This is money coming from people who would otherwise be spending money in Bethesda or Fairfax. Instead, DC gets the tax revenue on ticket sales, merchandise sales, concessions etc.

2) The area around Buzzard Point is relatively fallow and has been for generations. The placement of the soccer stadium at this location will make the adjoining parcels more attractive for development. This increases revenues in terms of property taxes. It will also increase revenue from whatever businesses and residences take up at those locations. Much more so than exists today or for the foreseeable future, without this.

3) The revenues to the city for the Nationals Stadium have been a net positive and ahead of schedule. I would suspect that revenues to the city, after the bonds are paid off, will be in the Billions of dollars, when you factor in the various benefits others have already articulated.

I agree that in a vacuum, stadia are a money loser, particularly when it is a single jurisdiction investment. Pennsylvania residents supporting the Pirates simply shifts revenue around. That is not the case in DC, where we get entertainment revenue from Maryland and Virginia residents. It is a huge difference.

by Andrew on Jul 27, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

At least try to be honest in your response.

I always do. Let's not accuse each other of lying. I'd appreciate the benefit of the doubt here that I'm merely wrong. What reason would I have to lie?

At the Nats games, there are at least a few dozen people outside scalping tickets and selling hats, water, and peanuts.

And I'm sure they pay taxes on that. Just the kind of jobs DC needs!

You fail to mention the several hundred construction jobs this will create

I was specifically thinking of long-term employment. So neither game-day only jobs (like scalpers) or construction jobs. And if Nationals Stadium is any indication, most of that work will not go to DC residents.

"D.C. residents have worked about one-third of the total hours of skilled labor needed to build the Washington Nationals stadium, despite an agreement between the city government and labor unions that half of the hours would go to city workers."

the revenue from the 10% tax on food/drink, the sales tax on merchandise sold at the stadium

OK. Consider it mentioned. The stadium will generate some tax revenue from this - some (much?) of it at the expense of existing DC businesses that compete for entertainment, food and drink dollars and which did not get help from the DC government.

and economic activity from retail surrounding the stadium that this induces

Maybe it will and maybe it won't. There isn't a lot of retail around Nationals Stadium.

by David C on Jul 27, 2013 12:11 pm • linkreport

whether the stadium is a good/bad investment depends on:
1) whether the city negotiates a good deal

I think you can stop right there. That's the identity property isn't it. It's a good deal if DC negotiates a good deal.

by David C on Jul 27, 2013 12:12 pm • linkreport

I don't see a downside.

DC trades property for far less than they could get if they issued an RFP and let developers compete for it.

DC spends $150 million on something that never returns that kind of money.

There is no guarantee that RFK will be developed. In fact, there is no plan to do so.

And there are risks. MLS might fold like WUSA did. DC United might leave.

So if you don't see a downside, then you aren't doing your due diligence.

by David C on Jul 27, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

The stadiums, both of them, draw entertainment dollars into the District

To some extent sure, but much of that money would be spent in DC anyway. And if there were no stadium there, there would be other businesses that also would draw money into the District. Maybe there would be apartments or condos that would increase population and thus income AND property taxes. That's money that would otherwise come from people living in Fairfax or Bethesda.

The area around Buzzard Point is relatively fallow and has been for generations.

Well, there's been a power plant there as well as other industrial uses. You can call that fallow if you want, but I don't think it is. The reason it is fallow right now is that it's in transition. The power plant is closing. The Coast Guard is moving. This area represents an opportunity. A stadium is not the only reasonable use of the land by any stretch. It's right on the water and within walking distance of downtown and two areas that are blowing up.

The revenues to the city for the Nationals Stadium have been a net positive and ahead of schedule. I would suspect that revenues to the city, after the bonds are paid off, will be in the Billions of dollars, when you factor in the various benefits others have already articulated.

OK. Let's talk about how the bonds are paid off. They are not paid off by revenue from the stadium. We tax large businesses to pay off the bonds. So the fact that revenues from this tax are ahead of schedule has nothing to do with whether or not baseball has paid off. It's just that our estimates for the revenue from this tax were conservative. We could be using that money for schools or transit or just not taxing businesses.

As for revenue from baseball, I don't know of any evidence that that is higher than expected or that it is enough to pay off the bonds or even compensate from the lost revenue from the businesses that used to be there. If you know of any, I'd like to see it. If the stadium will make the city billions it will be an outlier of dramatic proportions. Numerous studies have come to the same conclusion - stadiums are financial losers for cities. Without fail. This may be the one exception, but having it make billions would be like a 4 foot tall person not only playing in the NBA, but making the NBA all-star game as a center - a dramatic outlier.

by David C on Jul 27, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

I agree that a stadium WILL have follow on benefits. Its just that study after study shows that you can get the same benefits for less money. e.g. issue a RFP for the Reeves Center and Buzzard Point, and let the market decide.

by SJE on Jul 27, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

Instead of selling the Reeves Center DC should hold on to the property for much longer. How about selling one of the DC Govt buildings on or around 4th Street NW, the Wilson Building, or even all DC Govt owned buildings downtown except for the DC Court that could net them a few billions dollars.

How much would it be to tear down RFK and or the Armory and build a new stadium to the east of west of East Capitol Street or directly behind the Metro Station where the Armory presently is.

by kk on Jul 28, 2013 1:53 am • linkreport

I support the Buzzard's Poinl proposal but here is another location that is well-served metro directly across from a location where there is little productive activity: The two-acre surface parking lot next the House office buildings!

by 202_cyclist on Jul 28, 2013 9:26 am • linkreport

@202_cyclist: Good idea, however, it would be more productive to plow over the House itself, rather than the parking lot next to the House office buildings. :-)

by microT on Jul 28, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

"How much would it be to tear down RFK and or the Armory and build a new stadium to the east of west of East Capitol Street or directly behind the Metro Station where the Armory presently is."

How many times are we going to see the same question, coming up multiple times every tie the subject comes up?

RFK is on federal park land. The city got a lease to build and operate a stadium there. DC can't build there without a new Congressional mandate. Good luck with that. As for cost -- tearing down the stadium, getting approvals and doing the environmental remediation...that's why the Redskins gave up and moved out to Landover. It's only going to be more expensive and more difficult now. Still, the Redskins might decide to it, but their revenue stream is magnitudes larger than DC United's. Add several zeroes. So, it might be worth it for Snyder, but not for United's ownership.

Plus, folks on the Council wouldn't want a smaller stadium built there for soccer games, because the have dreams of a massive complex to bring the Redskins back. The 'Skins might want to double the capacity RFK offers, and United needs a smaller facility than even RFK, maybe half again smaller than that capacity. So, it's probably not even on offer for United to build the kind of stadium they want on that land.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Jul 28, 2013 6:35 pm • linkreport

I appreciate this article but wonder about a few things. Could the city have gotten more for the Reeves Center with its prime location on U and 14 Streets? How will Metro handle the soccer crowds? They sometimes struggle with moving the Nationals fans after games. Cost overruns are common in development projects. How will the city and DC United handle the probable increased costs to building the stadium. Has the $300 million accounted for the cost of the land as well as the building?

by Brett A on Jul 29, 2013 3:55 pm • linkreport

Brett A:
"How will Metro handle the soccer crowds? They sometimes struggle with moving the Nationals fans after games."

Building the streetcar to serve the stadium is one of the infrastructure investments that has been discussed as part of the price of this (" buy land parcels, and prepare local infrastructure to accommodate the stadium"). Additionally, I think this is nearly as close to the SW Waterfront metro station as it is to the Navy Yard metro station.

by 202_cyclist on Jul 29, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

We don't actually know what they're getting, that negotiation hasn't taken place yet. We only know what some 'experts' have valued it at.

On the issue of cost overruns, DC United has to finance the stadium themselves, they are on the cost for all overruns for construction. The term sheet also limits the District to $50 million on land preparation/development.

by Sgc on Jul 29, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

Thanks Sgc!

Good to know that the city will have a limited investment.
I'm thrilled that they moved away from the plan to give away too much of the parkland at Poplar Point.

by Brett A on Jul 29, 2013 5:44 pm • linkreport

Thanks 202_cyclist

The new stadium would be about the same from both. That would help relieve the pressure. The streetcar is something I seem to be less enamored with than some other folks. Setting up more bike lanes is a given.

by Brett A on Jul 29, 2013 5:49 pm • linkreport

Buzzards Point remains the single most important area of downtown DC for intermodal transport of bulk barged commodities, such as for construction and maintenance of DCs rail, road, new buildings, and other infrastructure. This means if DC builds anything in given year, such as resurface a road with asphalt, or require cement, concrete, or aggregate, large amounts of steel, or need a delivery of road salt or road sand, Buzzards Point is the best place to land such materials, and not use expensive bottle neck bridges into and out of downtown. Barging goods is the least expensive per tonne. Barging goods does not create traffic on regions valuable roads and rail lines. All downtown construction waste and recycling each day or year could easily be shipped out most economically this way.

For these reasons, the Buzzards Point redevelopment madness is deeply worrying for the future of the city of DC. If shipping a load by train costs $1, barge save 40%, costing only $0.60 per similar load and distance, while trucks doing the same thing cost $8 to $10.

Converting the entire waterfront and tip of DC into some swanky redevelopment, that ejects our most efficient and therefore valuable commodities barge traffic, is idiotic, especially when DC has river front that is shallower, up the Anacostia River, such as where RFK Stadium is, that makes much better long term sense for both preserving a downtown river port with deepest possible water, and building a soccer stadium.

by Nathaniel Pendleton on Feb 23, 2014 4:11 am • linkreport

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