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Breakfast links: RFK 2.0 coming?


Photo by sidewalk flying on Flickr.
New NFL stadium coming?: Dan Snyder mentioned in an interview that his organization has begun planning a Fedex Field replacement. He hopes to evoke RFK with a "retro" design, but gave no indication of a location for the new stadium. (WBJ)

More FBI workers in MD: A previously unreleased Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development report found that 43.2% of FBI employees reside in Maryland. Could this send the new headquarters to Maryland? (Post)

Purple Line not a threat: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the Purple Line will not impact any endangered or threatened species. This is contrary to the opinion of a group of citizens who sued the Federal government this week. (City Paper)

"High rise" elementary opens: Significant crowding at a Fairfax County elementary school meant expansion was necessary, but county officials moved half the school to a nearby office building, instead of a traditional elementary campus. (WTOP)

Woodbridge to Tysons bus a goner?: The Tyson's OmniRide bus may not survive a transition to county funding. Ridership was lower than expected, with an average of 18 riders per bus each day. (Potomac Local)

Use the poor door, please: Officials in New York are demanding an end to the so-called "poor door" policy. The "poor door" refers to a separate entrance for income-controlled units in luxury buildings. (NYTimes)

Balancing bikeshare boggles brains: As many as thirty researchers are investigating the problem of how best to balance bikeshare stations for optimum usage. Even using various algorithms, the problem is extremely complex. (CityLab)

And...: A Kennedy is running for office in DC, for ANC in Foggy Bottom. (Post) ... Alexandria's retired planning director looks back on her time in office. (Alexandria Times) ... Eight new bikeshare stations opened in Alexandria last week. (WashCycle)

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Nick Finio is a second year student in UMD College Park's Masters in Community Planning Program, where he focuses on transportation and equity issues. He has lived and worked in the region since 2010, and currently resides in Takoma Park with his wife and son. 

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Fedex field is simply awful and I can't blame Dan Snyder for wanting a new stadium.

by Brett Young on Aug 28, 2014 8:41 am • linkreport

I haven't been to FedEx but I have heard it is bad, saying that a new one when this one is relatively new seems wasteful....

Of course he is likely expecting some government to be so excited to bring a wasteland - I mean boon for the local economy - that they would be begging to foot the bill for this. Sadly, the DC government seems lame enough to fall for this or at least flirt with it. I don't know where they would put it except at the current RFK site and as someone who lives withing walking distance that would not make me a happy camper.

by ET on Aug 28, 2014 8:55 am • linkreport

I did not realize the Woodbridge - Tysons buses wer paid for by the state, not by PWC. This is
A. A sign of weakness in PWC
B. A (minor) bad thing for Tysons urbanization
C. A sign that perhaps PWC, at least eastern PWC, is going to remain more focused on commuting to DC (and inner Arlington) via VRE than on Tysons. Of course people from PWC will still commute to Tysons, but they won't build up a transit corridor to Tysons.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Aug 28, 2014 8:58 am • linkreport

The USFWS couldn't find evidence that the shrimp could be harmed and neither could the guy the purple line opponents hired to bolster their case. The best he managed was "the shrimp could live here if we knew where to find it and move it".

One day, a city will stand up to a NFL team and say "good luck on building your new stadium". I doubt it will be DC though :(.

The "poor door" controversy is emblematic of the problems we have with zoning. We demand a fix (affordable housing) and then when developers provide that under the constraints they already face they get attacked for doing what was asked. If you want specific results then you need to mandate specific results. But that likely means housing becomes more unaffordable than otherwise so cities should acknowledge that.

by drumz on Aug 28, 2014 8:59 am • linkreport

Oh, and folks in Arlington should pay attention to the Fairfax elementary/office building. Citizens are simulataneously demanding for large capacity increases in Arlington schools but freaking out every time the county proposes and expansion or new school somewhere other than large plots of vacant land (of which practically none exist in Arlington).

Also a temporary site for a Fairfax County Public Library is housed on the ground floor of the office building just down the street.

by drumz on Aug 28, 2014 9:02 am • linkreport

I have been using the poor door at my house everyday. I didn't even know I was supposed to be offended. Now I hate myself, and rich people.

by The Truth™ on Aug 28, 2014 9:12 am • linkreport

Please, DC, don't go offering anything for the Redskins stadium. And if you are stupid enough to do it, please don't try to pass it off as some kind of "economic redevelopment" because a football stadium that is only fully occupied and utilized a total of 24 hours a YEAR is not that.

Curious to see what counter move the Purple Line NIMBYs will stage. It'd be more amusing if it wasn't wasting everyone's time and money.

by Mr. Johnson on Aug 28, 2014 9:13 am • linkreport

Fedex field is simply awful

You know what's worse? New stadiums that taxpayers shell out for and then shell out again to pay thousands for seat licenses and raised prices for tickets. Is there a city in this country that claims to have a "great" NFL stadium?

The NFL stadium biz is a great scam. Businesses with zero accountability or requirements to disclose their financials get cities to pay hundreds of millions to build their main capital investment for their moneymaking enterprise. I bet more businesses would like that model.

There is zero reason to give the R******s any public money. What would the "or else" be in this situation? Can't change the name because "tradition!" but they'll move out of the 7th largest metro area (their home for 77 years) to go... where?

They should build a new stadium with their own money, right next to where the current one is. There isn't a better location.

by MLD on Aug 28, 2014 9:13 am • linkreport

Nobody is allowed to tell Vincent Orange about the prospect of a new Washington Football Team stadium for at least the next two years.

by Low Headways on Aug 28, 2014 9:14 am • linkreport

I don't care where the Redskins play, but I absolutely do not want to pay for their stadium, wherever it may be.

I don't even know why DC is assisting with the soccer stadium. What? Play at RFK. Why build another silly vacant pseudo-monument? If anything, renovate or rebuild RFK.

by The Truth™ on Aug 28, 2014 9:22 am • linkreport

@mld I think Jack Kent Cooke paid for almost all of the costs of Fed ex Field

by Brett Young on Aug 28, 2014 9:27 am • linkreport

I really hope that DC doesn't go forward with the stadium. I do think that a dome would allow for more events (Final Fours, arena concerts, Bowl games, etc.) but it's not worth the tradeoff of losing that land and the development potential.

I wonder how many FBI employees live in Virginia? I would think that it would be fairly close to the Maryland number.

by Sam on Aug 28, 2014 9:31 am • linkreport

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the Purple Line will not impact any endangered or threatened species. This is contrary to the opinion of a group of citizens who sued the Federal government this week."

Experts?!? What do they know about anything?

by Frank IBC on Aug 28, 2014 9:34 am • linkreport

I wonder if opening the Silver Line might end up being what saves the Woodbridge to Tysons Corner route. The Dulles Corridor is a nightmare to get to from the Rt. 1 corridor unless you are on the HOT lanes. Living in Alexandria I've basically shrugged at the Silver Line because I don't see how I could ever use it even though I go to the Dulles Corridor at least once a week. There is no way I'm going to do something like Metroway -> Blue -> Silver -> Bus. The gamechanger would be some sort of Alexandria <-> Tysons bus but if the Woodbridge route isn't viable, I don't suppose they'll add an Alexandria one.

by movement on Aug 28, 2014 9:34 am • linkreport

The Tyson's OmniRide bus may not survive a transition to county funding.

Omniride is a terrible service. It is lip-service to the idea of a bus system. Bus stops are literally only marked 'BUS STOP' without even the Omniride logo. Buses are old.

But then again, PWC is sprawl heaven, so why'd you need a bus system? Doesn't everybody have a car and time to be traffic on I-66, I-95 and the confusing and disjointed PW Parkway?

by Jasper on Aug 28, 2014 9:36 am • linkreport

Snyder is great at whipping up the press to talk about the great new player he just signed for a bunch of cash, or traded for with a slew of valuable draft picks, and the great potential of his PG country football team in the upcoming season. He does the same thing year after year and people seem to eat it up. Almost inevitably the players end up as busts and the teams has another crappy season. Let's not fall for his diabolical PR stunts with the new stadium. Its a whole lot of money for a giant economic dead zone well over 300 days a year.

by Turtleshell on Aug 28, 2014 9:37 am • linkreport

I think Jack Kent Cooke paid for almost all of the costs of Fed ex Field

Indeed he did, in contrast to most NFL teams. Another reason the current owner should do the same. If one of the 5 most valuable teams can't do it, who can?

by MLD on Aug 28, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

@The Truth™ I don't even know why DC is assisting with the soccer stadium. What? Play at RFK. Why build another silly vacant pseudo-monument? If anything, renovate or rebuild RFK.

I've heard that the renovation costs for RFK would be astronomical. Astronomical as in, probably more than to build an entirely new stadium. Beyond that, the seating capacity of RFK is too large for soccer. It's simply not an ideal venue for a MLS team.

For the record, I fully agree that most (all?) publicly financed stadiums/arenas are boondoggles for taxpayers and only benefit wealthy team owners.

by Birdie on Aug 28, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

@sam I wonder how many FBI employees live in Virginia? I would think that it would be fairly close to the Maryland number.

From the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development report:

"Based on commuting data of the Census block groups of the current FBI location, we estimate that 43.2% of current FBI headquarters employees reside in Maryland, 33.4% in Virginia and 17.4% in DC. Outside of Washington DC, the largest number of commuters resides in Montgomery County (16.4%), Prince George’s County (16.3%) and Fairfax County (15.4%)."

by Birdie on Aug 28, 2014 9:42 am • linkreport

Interesting. Thanks Birdie.

by Sam on Aug 28, 2014 9:52 am • linkreport

There is zero reason to give the R******s any public money. What would the "or else" be in this situation? Can't change the name because "tradition!" but they'll move out of the 7th largest metro area (their home for 77 years) to go... where?

They should build a new stadium with their own money, right next to where the current one is. There isn't a better location.

Yes, if they want to pay 100% of the cost, and the costs of any improvements to roads/bus stops/metro stations let them go where they want. If they want to try their luck in LA, let them.

Fedex field is simply awful
A true monument to Jack Kent Cooke's arrogance and stupidity.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

Snider, please stay out of DC. Redskins ship has sailed. Bring it to NASSCARRR country.

by NE John on Aug 28, 2014 9:58 am • linkreport

Is there a city in this country that claims to have a "great" NFL stadium?

Seattle.

Anyway, the working assumption is that Snyder wants to build a dome on the current RFK site, for the aforementioned reasons ("(Final Fours, arena concerts, Bowl games, etc.)"). He may be a terrible businessman, but he realizes that:

A. Fedex is terrible
B. The suburban wasteland location that seemed so great in the mid-90s is no longer de rigeur

The DC government figures that since the feds mandate the RFK land be used for recreation, that can justify spending $X on the stadium on the grounds that it's the most productive use of the land they can get. There's also probably some thought to using it to try to improve than part of town overall, e.g. demolishing D.C. General and putting something full of sports bars in its place.

by Dizzy on Aug 28, 2014 10:01 am • linkreport

There is a bus between Alexandria and Tysons: the Metrobus 28A. I ride it to work (at Skyline) from VRE. But it's slow, and the latest Metrobus I ever rode was a 28A: more than an hour late.

Also, Fairfax Connector has service to Tysons out of the Lorton VRE station, but the service isn't coordinated with train arrivals and departures. In fact, it often just misses them. It too is often late. One of my daughters commuted on it for almost a year and, despite leaving Tysons around 5:20 pm, she sometimes missed the last VRE train out of Lorton two hours later.

by Steve Dunham on Aug 28, 2014 10:01 am • linkreport

@movement:The gamechanger would be some sort of Alexandria <-> Tysons bus

Metrobus 28A?

by jimble on Aug 28, 2014 10:09 am • linkreport

The RFK Stadium site sits on prime real estate. It's a beautiful location right next to the Anacostia river. The nearby areas not used for the stadium offer beautiful views. There is great transit accessibility with the blue and orange line stations, several buses go there, and it also goes by the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail for bicyclists.

Having an NFL stadium there where they have 8 home games a year is a waste. The massive amounts of parking stadiums require take what could be beautiful riverside parkland into an ugly sea of asphalt.

There is alternate idea that the community favors- making the area a massive youth sports complex with fields for soccer, baseball, football, everything. Youth sports is a great influence for kids and helps encourage them on a positive path. We could give all of DC kids a first rate place to play in a very convenient and central location. That would be a good use of this scarce public resource. No to an NFL stadium at the RFK site.

by KingmanPark on Aug 28, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

I find it highly amusing the number of posters here who clamored for DC to spend hundreds of millions to help DC United build a stadium, but are 100% against any dollars being spent for a new football stadium.

Signed, someone who is adamantly against any public dollars going to any sports team.

by Kelly on Aug 28, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

@Kelly

+1

by Nick on Aug 28, 2014 10:17 am • linkreport

The 28A will be a much more valuble asset for Alexandria (at least in terms of connection to Tysons and the SL) when it has a dedicated right of way.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Aug 28, 2014 10:19 am • linkreport

The 28A is pretty frequent. It's slowness is more due to the length of the route and the fact that's its local the whole way.

The 28X brings some improvement but only goes to Mark Center instead of King Street.

And of course they're studying fixed rail transit on 7 right now and that would be a huge boon for Fairfax. I'd argue a bigger deal than extending any of the current metro lines.

by drumz on Aug 28, 2014 10:21 am • linkreport

I find it highly amusing the number of posters here who clamored for DC to spend hundreds of millions to help DC United build a stadium, but are 100% against any dollars being spent for a new football stadium.
Signed, someone who is adamantly against any public dollars going to any sports team.

Really, and who exactly are those posters? I don't see anybody slamming an NFL stadium here who was gung-ho about a DC United stadium.

by MLD on Aug 28, 2014 10:23 am • linkreport

>@Kelly

I for one, think both plans are equally stupid. Although I hate the R*****ns with a fiery passion, mainly because of Jack Kent Cooke, I still think either plan should be funded by those who reap the reward, the team owners.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 10:29 am • linkreport

The way the "poor door" stuff is spun bugs me. NYC has many mixed use buildings, e.g., an office high rise topped by luxury condos. It is not unusual to have separate lobbies for each entity. That seems to be exactly what these developers are doing--there are several floors corresponding to a rental building with few amenities, topped by floors corresponding to an entirely separate high-end condo. Both entities are administered separately. They just happen to be in the same building shell. Separate entrances make perfect sense when this is the setup.

The real question is whether the developer should get the concessions when failing to mix the affordable units with the market-rate units. I don't know about that, but the "poor door" spin just confuses the issues. What is the marginal cost per user of high-end condo services? If not negligible, it seems unfair to make the other units carry the burden of the affordable units' marginal costs. (Assuming that an affordable unit shouldn't have a $1k+ per month condo fee.) If the cost is negligible, then the only obvious downside of mixing is that the snooty condo purchasers don't want to pay as much for something that forces them to mix with poorer people. A consistent revised policy could mitigate this issue.

by dccritic on Aug 28, 2014 10:31 am • linkreport

From a development standpoint, FedEx is probably in the best location you can find.

The issue is that people group a place like Verizon Center or Nats park, which are getting 80-100 events a year, with a football stadium which might get 20.

The edge of downtown is a great place for frequent use arenas, particularly those that can support ground level retail. Even then, its marginal whether its relaly the best location for such stadiums.

But FB stadiums belong in suburban wastelands. They aren't used frequently enough to justify the use of prime real estate. The crowds are too big to really make transit work as anything but a small slice of the overall traffic. Because of that, you need good highway access, which is usually lacking in downtowns. BEcause of the primacy of tailgating in the whole thing, it also means that sea of parking is a must. Which means a HUGE footprint (thats on top of the stadiums themselves being the largest in non-motorized sports due to the large crownds and big field.)

So I think its hard to argue that there is a btter location that he current location - espeically since PG itself is the least developed of the major ring counties (i.e. you aren't taking prime suburban metro accessible real estate either).

So hopefully DC says, thanks but no thanks AND tears down RFK and turns it into something better - much needed housing for example.

by TomA on Aug 28, 2014 10:32 am • linkreport

I find it highly amusing the number of posters here who clamored for DC to spend hundreds of millions to help DC United build a stadium, but are 100% against any dollars being spent for a new football stadium.

Signed, someone who is adamantly against any public dollars going to any sports team.

I mean, following that logic, everyone is a hypocrite unless they either favor or oppose all government subsidies to private interests. I doubt anyone holds such extreme positions; most believe that there are some instances in which government involvement/subsidization in the name of economic development is justified. Insofar as folks here are generally left-leaning, they probably believe there's too much such subsidization going on, but I'm guessing few believe it should never happen.

There is also the question of what exactly constitutes "public dollars going to" a private interest. Surely private interests benefit when the government builds transportation and other infrastructure nearby, but we

Rather, proposals should be analyzed individually for cost/benefit. I can come up with some arguments for why one time of sports arena/stadium/venue/what-have-you would be a beneficial proposal, while another would not be.

Football stadiums are generally regarded as never being worthwhile from an urbanist perspective. I think there is a way to build an urbanist-worthwhile such stadium, but I don't know that any team would want one.

by Dizzy on Aug 28, 2014 10:38 am • linkreport

Verizon Center, at least according to MSE, has events occurring 200+ days a year.

by Birdie on Aug 28, 2014 10:40 am • linkreport

Verizon Center, at least according to MSE, has events occurring 200+ days a year.

The other part, which people always seem to forget for some reason, is that Verizon (as do most other arenas/stadiums) has hundreds of office employees who work there every day.

by Dizzy on Aug 28, 2014 10:46 am • linkreport

RE: the 28A you're joking, right? You couldn't pay me to sit on that bus for more than an hour each way.

My reverse commute from Alexandria to Leesburg (when I don't telework or work at a customer site, which is usually) is 50 minutes. If I could make that trip reliably in under 100 minutes without driving, I would. Since there apparently will never be a direct rail link from Alexandria to Arlington and beyond I'm talking about an express bus. If you want to get me out of my car, that is what it will take.

by movement on Aug 28, 2014 10:47 am • linkreport

"But FB stadiums belong in suburban wastelands. They aren't used frequently enough to justify the use of prime real estate. The crowds are too big to really make transit work as anything but a small slice of the overall traffic. Because of that, you need good highway access, which is usually lacking in downtowns. BEcause of the primacy of tailgating in the whole thing, it also means that sea of parking is a must. Which means a HUGE footprint (thats on top of the stadiums themselves being the largest in non-motorized sports due to the large crownds and big field.)"

Heinz Field basically disproves all of this as "it can be solved with good planning."

The parking lots for Heinz Field are shared with PNC Park, Stage AE (a concert venue), and are used as public parking on days when none of those three facilities are in use. It's hardly a sea of parking too. Its relatively small. Vast amounts of people don't park in those lots and they close one of the bridges to vehicular traffic so people can walk across it in.

by Another Nick on Aug 28, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

@TomA

Also do not forget about transit another negative of transit to football stadiums. The culture of football is to show up many hours before the event and tailgate. Thus lots of parking will always be needed.

Personaly I love tailgating and I am not asking for that to go away, but it is something to consider when moving a football stadium into a city.

It sort of works in Baltimore only because there is a lot of common parking that overlaps for baseball, the convention center, etc. Plus its on the edge downtown.

by Matt R on Aug 28, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

Movement

I don't know if there is enough volume to justify an express bus around the beltway (which is where it would have to run, I think) from Old Town to Tysons, let alone to Leesburg. Auto commuting may always be preferable for you.

The 28A/28X route is of course not designed with commuters from Old Town to Leesburg in mind. When it (or its rail replacement) goes into a dedicated lane, it will however serve people from northwest Alexandria going to Tysons.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Aug 28, 2014 10:59 am • linkreport

RE: New Stadium

I wonder how Prince George's County will play this new stadium situation. Currently, as others have stated, FedEX Field is used only a fraction of a year. Meanwhile you have just about 100+ acres of asphalt contributing nothing to the environment but runoff.

Any new stadium, if built in a suburb, should have half the parking, be placed near a metro to force less vehicles, and should be LEED Gold. Anything less is a ripoff to the community. And yes, the owner should pay for it all including any new roads. As a county, I'd be willing to give up the stadium if those conditions can't be met.

RE: Purple Line Lawsuit

The environmentalists wouldn't have cared about the Purple Line had it not been for the Chevy Chase Civic Group's opposition. Now I'm afraid they are wasting money for a lawsuit where more than one study has already confirmed the Purple Line construction won't harm the shrimp. That money could be better spent on more pressing issues. $29,000/month in lawyer fees and they're not really sure if the shrimp is being harmed or not? Good luck with that. I suspect the judge will dismiss. Especially since the opposition's own scientists couldn't confirm any existence of the shrimp or the harm that PPL construction may cause.

by adelphi_sky on Aug 28, 2014 11:07 am • linkreport

Having the Redskins pay for 100% of everything is never going to happen. My guess is Snyder might want to buy the land and pay for the stadium so he owns it. That's part of what makes the Redskins franchise so valuable: they own the land and stadium.

I think building a new stadium on the same site is a possiblity. It's also possible he sells the land (prime real estate just off 495) to a developer and will then have tons of money to put towards a relocation.

The VA state government has been very supportive of the name, so that could the route they go.

by jh on Aug 28, 2014 11:11 am • linkreport

If I could get to Tysons reasonably quickly (by express bus) then the Silver Line and Loudoun Connector become options.

by movement on Aug 28, 2014 11:11 am • linkreport

It sort of works in Baltimore only because there is a lot of common parking that overlaps for baseball, the convention center, etc. Plus its on the edge downtown.

I have a feeling that as Baltimore redevelops and revitalizes, the Football stadiums location will be more and more of an issue. When it is time to rebuild(hopefully in 2050+) it probably will not be located there

I think building a new stadium on the same site is a possiblity. It's also possible he sells the land (prime real estate just off 495) to a developer and will then have tons of money to put towards a relocation.

Prime Real Estate? Because people are just swarming all over the Landover Mall Location.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 11:23 am • linkreport

My reverse commute from Alexandria to Leesburg...
However you slice it, service that trip with transit is always going to be tough. Some trips you're better off driving. It would be much more productive to focus job growth in places we know we can serve well rather than try to retrofit transit service to far off suburbs that will never compete well with driving.

by Sherman on Aug 28, 2014 11:43 am • linkreport

re dccritic and poor doors-

I agree. The media spin on this development is out of control. You are dead on that this is two separate buildings within one shell. If this developer had claimed the abatement by building affordable housing a few blocks away (as is allowed), then this would not have made the news.

I live in a large rental building with several floors of sub-market housing (the lower floors, with carpets in the hallways). We share the same elevator and laundry room. But that is a rental building, not a condo. I don't know how you could legislate this type of in-building mixing in a Condo building.

by Administrator on Aug 28, 2014 12:08 pm • linkreport

As some armchair PR advisers suggested in the recent issue of Washingtonian, Snyder is going to package a new name for the Redskins with the promise of returning to DC (in exchange for substantial taxpayer assistance). Whereupon he will expect the mayor and DC council to say, "What a great guy! Let's do it!"

by Molly on Aug 28, 2014 12:14 pm • linkreport

@Another Nick--

I like Heinz Field and its proximity to PNC park, but recall that while the stadium is close to downtown, it was build on existing parking lots for the old Three Rivers. Moreover, much of the land surrounding the stadium was parking lots, vacants lots and pretty under-utilized. Also, the site has excellent highway access to the the North, South and East Hills areas.

by Molly on Aug 28, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

"I find it highly amusing the number of posters here who clamored for DC to spend hundreds of millions to help DC United build a stadium, but are 100% against any dollars being spent for a new football stadium.

Perhaps it is because some urbanists are smitten with soccer as a Euroglobalmetrosexual sport and view football as a boorish American sport?

by Ralph on Aug 28, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

"The DC government figures that since the feds mandate the RFK land be used for recreation, that can justify spending $X on the stadium on the grounds that it's the most productive use of the land they can get. There's also probably some thought to using it to try to improve than part of town overall, e.g. demolishing D.C. General and putting something full of sports bars in its place."

Actually, the legislation that creates the federal lease to DC doesn't refer to "recreation." It refers to a "stadium." Also, if the stadium remains vacant -- no professional sports team tenant -- for more than a year, the lease is to terminate and the full land rights revert back to the Park Service. Which is why the idea of a new stadium is so tantalizing.

I've long argued that the RFK site would be a good one for both a football and soccer stadium -- two separate facilities, but there were way too many political hurdles -- and probably economic ones, too -- for DC United to seriously pursue building a new stadium adjacent to RFK.

"Having the Redskins pay for 100% of everything is never going to happen. My guess is Snyder might want to buy the land and pay for the stadium so he owns it. That's part of what makes the Redskins franchise so valuable: they own the land and stadium."

That's a common misconception. Cooke built the stadium with his own money, but the land is leased to him by PG County. They have a 30-year lease, with penalties for early termination.

I would say that the R******* return to DC is an inevitability, but then I would have given long odds against their leaving DC. Cooke didn't want to relocate to a suburban wasteland. He got tired of waiting for lawsuits and environmental remediation and for Council approval. That scenario could be repeated.

When Snyder says he wants a 'retro" stadium, I hope that includes a wider field width than FedEx has, to accommodate international soccer. The USA is almost certainly hosting a World Cup sometime in the next dozen years...and there will also be considerable demand going forward for a suitable soccer stadium with greater seating capacity than the DC United stadium will have. The ideal design will allow for the bouncy seats to be inserted in front of a wider bowl that would accommodate international soccer and might also allow for an Olympic track to be installed, since the possibility of hosting the OLlympics will be a big part of the sales pitch for the new stadium.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Aug 28, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

"Moreover, much of the land surrounding the stadium was parking lots, vacants lots and pretty under-utilized. "

Yeah, was. Its the opposite of vacant and under-used now down there. There was far, far more parking for Three Rivers than there is for Heinz/PNC.

by Another Nick on Aug 28, 2014 12:44 pm • linkreport

It's not hypocritical at all to be pro-soccer stadium and anti-football stadium. Here are just some of the differences:

Soccer:
-Smaller venue, seats 20k
-Small enough to be shoehorned into an urban environment
-Doesn't require endless acres of surface parking
-Will host 20ish DCU games per year and is small enough to host multiple other events every year (it's about the size of something like Jiffy Lube Live, so those are the kinds of concerts it could pull in)
-Regardless of subsidy, is SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper to build (~300m for land/construction)

Football:
-Huge venue, seats probably 80k to 90k
-Way too big to successfully incorporate into an urban street grid
-Requires seas of additional land for parking lots
-Will host 10 R******* games a year (2 preseason, 8 reg season, and if recent history is any indication, no playoffs) and is also too big to host many other things, save for huge concerts and the occasional international soccer match
-Regardless of subsidy, is obscenely more expensive (49ers new stadium, just opened, cost 1.2 billion, or 4x as much as DCU's proposed cost)

Granted, most people are either for both or against both. But it's certainly possible and not illogical to be pro-soccer stadium and anti-football stadium.

by JES on Aug 28, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

If Snyder is looking for a new stadium, I hear there is one available in Los Angeles. I have no use for either Snyder nor the team-which-shall-not-be-named.

Or if Snyder really wants a retro stadium, I hear that RFK is still available..

by Eric on Aug 28, 2014 12:52 pm • linkreport

"Or if Snyder really wants a retro stadium, I hear that RFK is still available.."

Not really, no. It's literally falling apart. Plus, it's far too small for modern NFL standards...and doesn't have all those neat luxury suites that make owning an NFL team so profitable. If Snyder's choice wold be re-upping his lease at FedEx or coming even to a rehabbed/renovated RFK, he'd stay in PG.

It seems witty to say that about RFK, but the only reason it's still standing is because the soccer team is willing to pay rent, and that allows the city to perpetuate the lease until the Redskins are ready to come back...to a new stadium.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Aug 28, 2014 1:02 pm • linkreport

JES excellent points.
Other thing is in this area - Soccer fandom's growing.

by asffa on Aug 28, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

Question about RFK

If the city does not have a tenant, then the land goes back to NPS. But looking around it looks like that lease expires in 2038 anyway, so the land will be going back to NPS anyway in the life of any new stadium.

If the land went back to NPS, is there any indication that they would want to turn it into a park or otherwise. Why wouldnt they be willing to tell it? Have they designated it for preservation?

I see nothing in the nature of the land that makes it of national significance or being of exceptional example of it's type. It also has no real historical value. So if it goes back to them, they might be willing to sell. They do not have to hold on to every square inch of land they own.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 1:19 pm • linkreport

Despite being a football fan, I see no point in providing any direct or indirect subsidy for the Deadskins. The current ownership is particularly inept but has friends like Jack Evans.

Football stadiums receive relatively little use over a period of a year and the only examples of success here build on existing parking infrastructures You could add Cleveland's football stadium to the list of relative successes---it replaced an old stadium originally built for baseball with ample nearby parking that's used for a variety of purposes as well as freeway and light rail access.

The best thing would be demolish RFK and repurpose the entire area with mixed use development. It would be an excellent place for a mix of condos and townhouses. It's probably too near to already limping sizable retail areas (Maryland/Benning, River East) to do big retail, but some retail space for neighborhood-focused shops, services and restaurants would work. This kind of development would make the nearby park more popular and probably spur more amenities generally.

by Rich on Aug 28, 2014 1:22 pm • linkreport

I think the unspoken title for lobbying for tax funds while having a slur as their official name makes them the DC "Citizens United" team.

by asffa on Aug 28, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

@Movement- would Fairfax Connector 494 work? That route connects the Blue Line to Tysons along the I-495 Express Lanes all day during the week.

by NickII on Aug 28, 2014 1:26 pm • linkreport

Here is a thought- If we did have to put a football stadium back there, what would be the most urbanist way to do it?

I'd think part of it would be cutting down on the tailgating tradition and vastly limiting the space used for parking. You could take the land the Redskins already lease in PG and run shuttle buses to/from RFK for those who did want to drive/tailgate. Ideally, make some land available for bars/restaurants to give people a reason to hang out in the area before/after games. You'd have to aggressively have parking enforcement in the surrounding area on game days to prevent people from parking in the neighborhood. Ideally, if you could take all or most of the land around the stadium currently designated for parking and use it for parkland and sports/recreation space available for the community, having part of the land used for a stadium wouldn't be a bad idea.

by KingmanPark on Aug 28, 2014 1:26 pm • linkreport

@Molly,
Next we'll find out that Synder was the one that set the name controversy rolling a few months ago. All to get DC to build him a free stadium!

by duncan on Aug 28, 2014 1:31 pm • linkreport

One other thing I'll add about RFK -- DC United's ownership has been saying they expect some positive developments in teh next month regarding their stadium plan. Since that wold open up RFK -- and there are those on the Council who would like to bring the Redskins back, I would say that its hardly a coincidence that Snyder is moving forward with stadium designs and being public about it.

United plans to be out by the 2017 season, Snyder would want to get busy with demolition and a new stadium ASAP -- maybe it could be ready for 2020. In the meantime, there would have to be DC Council approval and new Congressional legislation that would extend the lease...probably into perpetuity. So, the timing suggests Snyder is definitely looking at the RFK site as his best option. While he would have to pay a penalty for early lease termination at FedEx, the city's timing vis a vis RFK necessitates that the wheels need to start moving soon.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Aug 28, 2014 1:34 pm • linkreport

@NickII
That's the right idea but Springfield is too far away from Alexandria.

by movement on Aug 28, 2014 1:35 pm • linkreport

Kelly, it's not logically inconsistent to be in favor of the DC United stadium but against a new stadium for the Washington Football Team. Although, since we don't know what kind of deal will be proposed for the NFL stadium so we can only talk in hypotheticals. For all we know, Snyder could offer to pay for the whole thing himself like his predecessor did with FedEx Field. Or, he could ask for 100% public funding. We simply don't know yet.

However, the soccer stadium does have facts on the ground. DC United's stadium will be 100% privately financed while the city helps with land acquisition. The land will then be leased to DC United for the construction and use of their privately financed stadium.

1) DC United will pay all construction costs.

2) The $300 million quote in the press is actually the city's contribution for infrastructure and the team's construction costs together.

3) The city would pay similar infrastructure costs for any piece of infill development that's built on top of what is now empty brownfield.

4) According to the term sheet, the city would only be on the hook for $120 million in infrastructure costs. For perspective, the new South Capitol Street bridge costs about $200 million.

5) The DC United stadium will have no surface parking and will be about a 10 minute walk from the Metro so it'll be good urbanism.

6) The land at Buzzard Point isn't being used and won't be developed for another use due to issues like zoning, and the current owner not being able to make money there on any development.

To make a long story short, DC United stadium will cost the city almost nothing and also bring in tax revenue where there is currently none. We will have to wait and see what kind of offer Mr. Snyder will put on the table.

by Cavan on Aug 28, 2014 1:40 pm • linkreport

@KingmanPark

For a truly "urban" football stadium, I think this is what you'd probably have to do:
-Incorporate outward, street-facing retail bays on all 4 sides of the structure to house bars and restaurants that are open all year. This would prevent the streets directly surrounding the stadium from becoming dead zones on the 345ish days a year that the stadium goes unused.
-Build numerous parking decks around the stadium that have entrance/egress points and ground floor retail; permit tailgating on the top levels of said parking garages on gameday. Use them for Metro parking (or some kind of public commuter parking, I dunno) for the rest of the year so they don't sit empty.
-Ensure that there's enough housing built nearby to sustain all this retail year-round so it doesn't all sit empty.

You would basically have to build an entirely new, very large mixed-use neighborhood all from scratch all at the same time. Basically another National Harbor, built around a football stadium in the middle.

Is it possible? Sure, theoretically. Will Snyder have any interest in it? Probably not. So, will it happen? No.

by JES on Aug 28, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

Move them to Richmond, or some other place in that confederate land.

by NE John on Aug 28, 2014 2:15 pm • linkreport

Dear Ex-wife

I know that I left you for a younger woman and married her, but now I would like to dump her and re-marry you if you will undergo extensive plastic surgery. And this time I promise to stay. You can trust me.

Dan Snyder

by David C on Aug 28, 2014 2:19 pm • linkreport

Move them to Richmond, or some other place in that confederate land.

I always thought Mexico needed an NFL team or two. Either Monterrey or Mexico City. It is a shame you are trying to give another Charlotte or Jacksonville a team they dont need.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 2:25 pm • linkreport

isn't the NFL considering London as a potential team? I'd be happy to let them have Snyder and his miserable band of overhyped know-nothings.

by Birdie on Aug 28, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport

To make a long story short, DC United stadium will cost the city almost nothing and also bring in tax revenue where there is currently none.

That may be too short. The stadium will cost something, not nothing. And it will bring in revenue where currently there is little (not none), but the reason there was little is that everyone has been sitting on the land waiting for a soccer stadium. If the city instead assembled all the land and offered it to a developer for condos and office space between the emerging Waterfront and Yard's Park areas, the tax revenue would likely be greater.

In answer to someone else's question, The NCPC put together a plan about 10 years ago of what to do with the land RFK sits on if RFK were torn down. Museums, green space, monuments etc...

Also, wasn't RFK without a pro sports team for a year after the R----s left town? Why didn't the lease revert?

by David C on Aug 28, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

The Redcoats. A letter for letter replacement on all the gear and logos. Nice.

by The Truth™ on Aug 28, 2014 2:41 pm • linkreport

If they could fit it, I'd say a good location for a new Redskins stadium would be the industrial park just south of New Carrollton station. From a revenue standpoint, it would allow easy Amtrak/MARC access for visiting fans from the NE corridor and there's great highway access. It's also not so close to the metro station as to take up the most prime real estate, especially since you have to cross 50 to get there (so, not really an ideal location for TOD). With eventual development of TOD at NC, it would also give fans some places to get a bite to eat before the game.

by Falls Church on Aug 28, 2014 2:42 pm • linkreport

Looking at the 494 again I think it is overly complicated. It should just connect the two parts of the county as efficiently as possible and let other modes handle the last two miles.

by movement on Aug 28, 2014 3:28 pm • linkreport

Also, wasn't RFK without a pro sports team for a year after the R----s left town? Why didn't the lease revert?

No. The final Reds***s game at RFK was in December of 1996. DC United's first season began in April, 1996.

Here's some flashback footage from the 1996 MLS Playoffs from RFK, where you can see the remnants of the Reds***s endzone paint around both goals:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYkaU4aUUbE

Raul Diaz Arce!

by Alex B. on Aug 28, 2014 3:36 pm • linkreport

Redcoats would be ironic, since the team originated in Boston. [Though the mascot is not a reference to the costumes the Boston Tea Party participants wore, as I have been told by supporters of the name. It's a combination of the original mascot - Braves - with the Boston baseball team they shared a stadium with - the Red Sox].

by David C on Aug 28, 2014 4:00 pm • linkreport

David C, we've been round and round before but just because you make up a scenario in your mind doesn't mean that it has anything to do with reality.

The current landowners have enough land already to build condos and offices and have for many years. If the current landowners saw a chance to make money off of developing that land they would have done so years ago. There are very real economic reasons why it didn't happen and you pretending that those reasons don't exist doesn't change the facts on the ground.

The current landowners wouldn't have been amenable to a land swap if your fictional scenario had anything to do with reality.

My "nothing" quote was meant to be in context, not literal. I supplied the number in the term sheet of $120 million, capped off. Any overruns will be included in the cost of constructing the stadium while the city gets to own things like rebuilt streets. I also supplied the context of $200 million for the South Capitol Street bridge.

by Cavan on Aug 28, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

In answer to someone else's question, The NCPC put together a plan about 10 years ago of what to do with the land RFK sits on if RFK were torn down. Museums, green space, monuments etc...

I like how that plan lists the metro rail as a constraint to be avoided. The Metro rail station and the potential for another are NOT listed as opportunities.

by Richard on Aug 28, 2014 4:33 pm • linkreport

That's a common misconception. Cooke built the stadium with his own money, but the land is leased to him by PG County. They have a 30-year lease, with penalties for early termination.

Highly relevant fact.

So this is more about Snyder needing to have another plan if PG county tries to extract higher lease payments, which they're in a position to do if he doesn't have an escape route.

by ah on Aug 28, 2014 4:49 pm • linkreport

What's most interesting is that FedEx was probably Jack kent Cooke's 3rd choice at best for the stadium. He wanted a stadium in DC or, failing that, at Potomac Yard in Alexandria. But Mr. Cooke was very old school when it came to the ladies. Rumor has it he made some comment to Sharon Pratt Kelly (then DC mayor) that caused her to refuse to talk him anymore. Then he tried to woo Alexandria to no avail. What was left was somewhere in PG county so he took it.

by Rextrex on Aug 28, 2014 8:04 pm • linkreport

Will Snyder have any interest in it? Probably not.
Except that is what has rumored and floated for years (assuming there is a land transfer).

The team is valuable in part because of owning the stadium. They wouldn't want to lose that. Realistic expectations are tax breaks and/or leasing the land as they currently do and is expected for DC United. More than $300 million of the $1+ billion for construction would likely come from the NFL and NFLPA before the ownership group has to cash in anything from the sale of the current stadium.

by selxic on Aug 28, 2014 9:31 pm • linkreport

For those of you that are poo pooing FedEx Field, FedEx Field is based on a design that became the prototype of all of the single use football stadium that followed. Said prototype is Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City that was designed by the architectural firm of Kivett & Myers also of Kansas City in 1967, it opened in 1972. Arrowhead Stadium is still in use today.

Dan Snyder should keep his team in the perfectly good facility that he has and owns and not start a bidding war between local governments to get a deal that will pay the greatest amount of the freight to host home games.

by Sand Box John on Aug 29, 2014 12:08 am • linkreport

"So this is more about Snyder needing to have another plan if PG county tries to extract higher lease payments, which they're in a position to do if he doesn't have an escape route."

I really think it's about wanting to get the team back in the city, and in grand, new palace that would host a lot of big events, but most especially for Snyder, the Super Bowl. The timing of this discussion, I believe, is very much tied into the fate of RFK after DC United leaves.

If he were to stay in FedEX for another decade, he would also be pushing for a new stadium -- and, then, it might be about negotiating favorable terms for a new lease, but I seriously doubt the team will be in that stadium beyond the lease term. It doesn't even make sense to stay that long, if there's another option. Whatever the penalty is, they could make a lot more money in a more lavish, updated facility that 's ready for the interactive experience the league thinks it needs to maintain ticket sales in the future.
Washington is a much wealthier town than when Cooke decided to leave almost 20 years ago. There's money to be made with a nicer, updated facility.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Aug 29, 2014 12:13 am • linkreport

@ Sand Box John

So that explains why that 15 year old stadium feels like it's 50! I feel like there's a reason no one likes or builds stadiums based on 60s/70s design!

by mociab on Aug 29, 2014 8:21 am • linkreport

Y'know -- they recently spent $375 million to renovate Arrowhead Stadium. The renovation alone was twice what it cost to build FedEx over a decade earlier.

Just saying.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Aug 29, 2014 9:07 am • linkreport

@ drumz

Actually the 28A is not local the entire way between King Street and the Hospital it only makes a few stops this was changed about a year ago and they tell you to take Dash for the missing stops.

Stadium

The stadium should go in a place where the traffic and masses from the stadium does not affect the neighborhood badly. That said my grandfather used to live by RFK and you would find people parking all over the place, double parking, urinating in alleys, drunkenness, loud, cursing et cetera.

If the stadium is built near RFK I think it should have a dedicated on/off ramp to 295 via a new Young Bridge and perhaps a third entrance to Stadium Armory station or an underground path that is under East Capitol and the Armory leading to wherever the new stadium is. And this should go for any type of large venue be it a stadium, converntion center, arena, concert hall, et cetera it should not affect the neighborhood traffic in a bad way.

by kk on Aug 29, 2014 11:47 am • linkreport

Why give the NFL anything? They're a non-profit that doesn't pay taxes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-frederick/nfl-tax-exempt_b_1321635.html

by asffa on Aug 29, 2014 11:55 am • linkreport

If the current landowners saw a chance to make money off of developing that land they would have done so years ago.

Not if they saw another chance to make even more money by waiting.

And they were all waiting on PEPCO. PEPCO owns a large and strategic part of that land and they were still using it for power generation as late as May 2012. DC created the initial plan for putting the stadium at Buzzard's Point in June of 2010 (which means they were working on it sooner than that).

So that means that by the time the area was really ripe for redevelopment - 2012 - negotiations were already ongoing to build a stadium there. This effectively froze development, with no one wanting to do anything until the stadium decision was finalized. But without the stadium deal hanging over the area, it's not crazy to think that something else would be happening there.

by David C on Aug 29, 2014 11:57 am • linkreport

What's most interesting is that FedEx was probably Jack kent Cooke's 3rd choice at best for the stadium. He wanted a stadium in DC or, failing that, at Potomac Yard in Alexandria. But Mr. Cooke was very old school when it came to the ladies. Rumor has it he made some comment to Sharon Pratt Kelly (then DC mayor) that caused her to refuse to talk him anymore. Then he tried to woo Alexandria to no avail. What was left was somewhere in PG county so he took it.

He was looking closely at moving up to Laurel to try and capture more of the Baltimore/MD market

by Richard on Aug 29, 2014 12:05 pm • linkreport

That said my grandfather used to live by RFK and you would find people parking all over the place, double parking, urinating in alleys, drunkenness, loud, cursing et cetera.

Luckily, that has now been confined to the western end of East Capitol Street.

by David C on Aug 29, 2014 12:13 pm • linkreport

@ Fischy (Ed F.)

Seems that's is what Dan Snyder has in mind:

Capital Business
Redskins, Olympic backers both eye new stadium at RFK
Jonathan O'Connell
Thomas Heath
08 29 2014 2255 EDT
Washington Post

by Sand Box John on Aug 30, 2014 4:25 pm • linkreport

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