Greater Greater Washington

DC United eyeing Buzzard Point, Florida Market

According to several news sources, DC United, the District's professional soccer team, has been talking with DC officials as well as local developers about options for a new stadium in the city.


RFK Stadium. Photo by kenudigit on Flickr.

The team is seeking a smaller venue to replace its current home at oversized RFK stadium. This move could give the city an opportunity to replicate the successes of the Verizon Center while avoiding the mistakes of Nationals Ballpark.

According to United President Kevin Payne, the team has discussed at least four sites with officials. The leading prospect in the fledgling discussions appears to be a site on Buzzard Point in Southwest DC owned by the developer Akridge. The other site which was specifically named is the current site of the Capital City "Florida" Market between Florida and New York Avenues in Northeast.


Images from Google Maps

Both of these sites have positives and negatives to them.

The Buzzard Point site is currently an underused parking lot in an area that has not seen the development it was promised during the planning stages for Nationals Ballpark. Of course, this underdevelopment is likely at least partially due the site's biggest downside: relative remoteness.

The nearest Metro stations are about 8 blocks to the north, and the site is served by a single rush-hour only bus route, the 71. Across from the site is historical Fort McNairbeautiful, yet completely off limits.

The Florida Market site, on the other hand, is only a few blocks from the New York Avenue Metro station, and along several major bus lines, but currently sees significant use, which would ostensibly be displaced.

The current market is a major hub of wholesale food sales for area restaurateurs and, as Richard Layman and Frozen Tropics have written, has resisted development attempts before.

Ward 2 Council Member and Finance Committee Chairman Jack Evans has expressed his desire to work with the team "to build and finance a new soccer stadium," though it's unclear if that means the District would cover any of the costs. If the city were to pony up any funds for a stadium, it should use them as leverage to ensure the best outcomes for whatever neighborhood the venue ends up in.

What does this mean? First, it means guaranteeing that what is built is a truly urban stadium. Cavan examined the characteristics this requires the last time DC United was searching about for a new venue, and we discussed it more recently when Evans let slip that he'd like to bring the Redskins back to the District some day.

Most purpose-built MLS arenas hold 18-25,000 fans. The beauty of a smaller stadium is that meeting these criteria is much easier than with one of the 100,000 seat monstrosities that professional football teams demand these days.

If the District and the team can work together to create a small-scale stadium that fits into the urban fabric of its host neighborhood, reduces or eliminates surface parking and is part of a mixed-use development that can be used more than 30 times a year and promotes a lively streetscape outside of event days, they might produce a project worth the city's investment. Of course that's a big if.

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 

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Either nieghborhood will be good. And 8 block walk is fine - RFK is a 2 'big' block walk from the metro, plus so many walk down to the lots for the pregame bbq's.

I do oppose the "no surface parking", as what I love about DCU games begins with a BBQ and pints with friends in the parking lots. I would favor some kind of area that the fan clubs can have, where these gatherings can still occur.

But, I'll give even that, if DCU can work it out and stay in DC. Of course, this is the 8th year of hoping, so .... yeah.

by greent on Jan 19, 2011 12:42 pm • linkreport

Richard Layman sure hopes he doesn't have to deal with another attempt to urban renewal Florida Market wrt DC United.

I actually have come around to a stadium at Poplar Point, as part of a multi-faceted fine-grained urban revitalization project.

Or even the crazy Herb Miller proposal for a baseball stadium over the SE-SW freeway at L'Enfant Plaza-Banneker Overlook would be interesting, as a way to further other objectives simultaneously.

by Richard Layman on Jan 19, 2011 12:43 pm • linkreport

The review of the Buzzard Point site says "The nearest Metro stations are about 8 blocks to the north, and the site is served by a single rush-hour only bus route, the 71." This fails to mention the two DC Streetcar lines that are planned to reach the exact location of the spot. The lines are planned to reach both Anacostia and Takoma. Also, the other location is planned to have one line (Eastern Avenue to GW Circle).

by thedofc on Jan 19, 2011 12:44 pm • linkreport

I really hope they can work something out. It would be a shame to see DC United leave the District, let alone the entire region.

The Buzzard Point proposal sounds the most promising since the land is (presumably) less valuable and there is nothing there to displace. Any attempt to relocate the Florida Market will be met with a strong political opposition.

by Eric on Jan 19, 2011 12:49 pm • linkreport

It's too bad that the most obvious and logical site (build a new stadium in the current RFK parking lots) is off limits because of Federal meddling in District affairs.

A DCU stadium in Lot 3 of RFK (the large block directly to the North of the Armory) would be my location of choice.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

Agreed with greent on the surface parking. This is a sport/team with a tailgating tradition. Given the proximity to the metro (8 blocks is NOT that bad), there definitely isn't a need for much parking, but some would be nice to throw a bone to the loyal fans who have waited patiently at RFK for something of their own.

by Alex on Jan 19, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

It's a shame that DC leaders keep trying to kill the Capital City Market rather than help revitalize it. Eastern Market is great, but it's still quite small, and DC would benefit from having a 2nd great urban food market.

by Greg Gadren on Jan 19, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

Also agreed with Alex B. Demolishing RFK and building on or next to that would be the most ideal for me.

by Alex on Jan 19, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

The Florida Ave. location is a terrible idea. That area is ripe for redevelopment (which would be much helped if they made Florida Ave., which isn't really that congested to begin with, a lane or two narrower), as it's very close to the Metro and to the newly-opened Harris Teeter, and well within walking distance of H Street. Building a stadium that sits empty for 95% of the time would be bad enough, and plastering over it with surface parking would be even worse.

by Stephen Smith on Jan 19, 2011 1:04 pm • linkreport

It's a shame that DC leaders keep trying to kill the Capital City Market rather than help revitalize it. Eastern Market is great, but it's still quite small, and DC would benefit from having a 2nd great urban food market.

I agree totally. One further benefit: the vendors *inside* the Eastern Market hall seem to be chosen by patrilineal descent rather than merit, and so, with one or two exceptions, *suck*. So building a new urban market on that site might allow us to recruit some decent options for vendors (seafood, produce, bakery, cheese, etc, etc..).

by oboe on Jan 19, 2011 1:16 pm • linkreport

I like the Southwest Waterfront location the best, and the only drawback seems to be the relative distance from the Metro. Maybe whoever pays for the stadium could finance a new Metro exit ... but it wouldn't do much.

As for buses ... they're extremely easy to re-route. Of course, a stadium with 20,000 seats shouldn't rely too much on buses for transportation, which is why I'd hope the Metro situation isn't too bad.

by Tim on Jan 19, 2011 1:18 pm • linkreport

I have a question. There's this huge delta of train tracks north of New York Ave right by the Capital City Market site. What's the possibility a large structure, like this stadium, could be built on top of them? I've always felt that chunk of land would have to be reclaimed at somepoint

by Patrick on Jan 19, 2011 1:37 pm • linkreport

An issue with the Buzzard Point sight (though not an insurmountable one) is that the lot is very narrow for a soccer stadium. It's only about 420 feet wide (according to Google maps). The pitch itself will probably be 70 yards wide, leaving only about 105 feet clearance on either side for stands and such. It will take some creative architecture to make it work.

by Steven Yates on Jan 19, 2011 1:47 pm • linkreport

Baltimore is chomping at the bit for a move. Should be interesting to watch this progress.

by Jed on Jan 19, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

The Buzzards Point location is the most straight forward and makes the most sense given the urgency with which United needs a new stadium. United could share existing parking lots with the Nats, so parking shouldn't be too much of an issue. The lot at 100 V street IS also big enough to fit a 20-35k stadium (the lost is the same size as Boca Juniors stadium in Argentina: http://bit.ly/fPg3Y6). This could serve as an important anchor for a fairly undeveloped part of the city.

The key to get this done it seems isn't necessarily money from the city. United probably knows they will have to pay the bill. But United need the city council to back a stadium location so they can then expand the ownership group and raise the money to pay for the stadium.

by Max on Jan 19, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

Agreed with the above. Build it in the lot to the north of the Armory and then demolish the old stadium. Metro access, nothing there already.

by MLD on Jan 19, 2011 1:58 pm • linkreport

Does the city have the ability to finance either stadium option? I thought we were within sight of the debt cap limit?

by Fritz on Jan 19, 2011 2:07 pm • linkreport

I haven't been keeping track...are there any other plans on the books for development around the Florida Market?

I know that there was the 3rd & M project, the Uline Arena, and the project(s?) at 4th & Florida, all of which appear to have stalled. Have there been any productive discussions about what to do with the rest of the site?

I live a few blocks away, so I actually do have a vested interest in what goes there. The currently extant market is certainly unique, but rather frankly looks like a slum from the 1920s. You also need to remember that the market serves a *very* different customer base than Eastern Market. Although there are portions that do sell to the public, the bulk of their business comes from wholesale distribution. (The Funky Flea Market is a weird afterthought that doesn't really fit in to the overall picture).

In short, I like the Market. I'd like it to retain most of its character. However, it's a crime magnet, and in dire need of some sprucing-up. It doesn't really make sense in the context of a 21st-century city (nor did it really make sense in the past century either. I've always been curious as to how it survived and remained viable)

I have no clue how large the stadium would need to be, although it may be even possible to build on/near that site without displacing a most of the market.

Building on the Delaware Avenue railroads would be impractical due to height restrictions (the railroads are *already* elevated), and the fact that there's simply not enough room.

On the other hand, building a stadium in Brendwood (nearish to the RI Ave Metro) could be possible. You could put it on top of the WMATA railyards, or cheaply displace the few existing tenants in that area. As a bonus (or not), drivers could easily access the stadium from NY Ave (the road).

If we want another Waterfront stadium, there's room to build on top of the Barney Circle Freeway, and onto the site of the proposed "Boathouse Row" development. It'd be walkable from the Potomac Ave Metro, and you could easily run a shuttle bus from the RFK parking lots.

by andrew on Jan 19, 2011 2:09 pm • linkreport

@andrew

The Market is plenty viable as it is - it serves as a key wholesale distribution point for many businesses in the city and the region.

I agree, it certainly could use some sprucing up - many of those buildings could use a coat of paint and a little maintenance. Nevertheless, it is an active place. There's lots of stuff going on every time I've visited. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "it doesn't make sense in a 21st Century city" - it seems to make perfect sense right now.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2011 2:15 pm • linkreport

Not to drift off topic, but regarding the discussion of Fla Ave Market- Uline would be an interesting place for retail operations of a public market. I for one question the wisdom of landmarking it, but if in the end it is landmarked, a public market is one of the few functions I can envision working in such a white elephant of a place.

by spookiness on Jan 19, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

I think that the Capital City Market area could be a great option. The blue rectangle on the map is, I assume, just a wild guess as to the footprint of the stadium. A potentially better option for the stadium would be between the tracks and Fourth Street. This would only involve demolishing a couple non-historic warehouse buildings which are not planned to survive future development anyway. The only tenants that would have be removed would be for the stadium footprint itself... the other buildings wouldn't have to be emptied (although I imagine some of the businesses would naturally be tempted to sell out to bar and restaurant operators).

While the lack of surface parking may impede the tailgate culture of DC United, my guess is that a lot of that culture has arisen because of a serious lack of bars and restaurants adjacent to RFK. A series of restaurants and other uses would be a great fit in the market buildings between 4th and 5th. Other wholesale operations could certainly survive and expand as well, because the hours of operation (mornings) don't conflict with stadium events, and by potentially building new, larger mid-rise buildings to relocate some merchants.

by Tony on Jan 19, 2011 2:26 pm • linkreport

Who owns the Florida Market? I know J Street has development rights for at least some of that area - in fact, it seems from the WaPo story that Bruce Baschuk is the main force behind the idea for a stadium there - but do they own the land, and if so, how much? The answers to those could go a long way toward determining the feasibility of any kind of development (wholesale redevelopment or not, stadium or otherwise).

Also, @Tony, I'm with you on the footprint of the stadium if it does get built at the Market site, though again, the issue of who owns the land will determine a lot.

by The AMT on Jan 19, 2011 2:35 pm • linkreport

@AMT

- Between 5th & 6th, J Street & Gallaudet own almost everything. They are working closely together, so if Bruce wants the stadium, Gallaudet is likely on board as well.
- Between 4th & 5th, it's a huge mixture of owners. I don't think anyone owns a majority.
- Between the tracks and 4th, it's just a couple owners (mostly Sang Oh Choi, who wanted the city to use eminent domain to basically let him develop the whole market area). But the District owns the roadway between and northeast of the buildings.

by Tony on Jan 19, 2011 2:52 pm • linkreport

I'm not a sports fan, but what on Earth is wrong with RFK Stadium? It's near a Metro, near bus lines and has parking to boot. If they're concerned with underutilization, maybe they should, like all other US Soccer teams, be trying to lure more people to games with lower ticket costs and incentives. Building a new stadium would definitely NOT permit lower ticket prices.

This seems like a waste of time and money IMHO. The District gov't should not be trying to subsidize a stadium that already exists.

by John M on Jan 19, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

@John M

The team financially needs out of RFK. They don't get the money from other events, parking, concessions, etc., and they don't control the dates. So they're losing money. Badly.

RFK, as much as I love the old girl, is also way too big for an MLS team without the marketing muscle of Paul Allen. United have been looking for years for a replacement, but haven't been able to come close to anything since the Williams administration, when they were close to a deal with the city to develop Poplar Point.

by The AMT on Jan 19, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

I neglected to mention the rent they're paying at RFK and the lack of true corporate suites (which, I understand, are big revenue generators). And to clarify, the team's share of concession and parking revenues at RFK is less than what they'd expect at a new stadium, even one they were leasing.

by The AMT on Jan 19, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

@John M

Ditto what the AMT said. But RFK is also completely falling apart. The city spends basically nothing to maintain the place and it shows. It is now basically beyond repair. It would cost more to renovate the stadium then to build a new one.

by max on Jan 19, 2011 3:26 pm • linkreport

@Alex B - i agree that building a new stadium next to RFK is the best option and i personally would love to see that happen. Can you explain more about the land issues there and why/how the fed govt is involved? I'm totally ignortant on the issue...thanks!

by sp on Jan 19, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

wow, does my spelling sucks today. ignorant should clearly only have one T...

by sp on Jan 19, 2011 3:48 pm • linkreport

sp: The stadium and parking lots are on federal land, not DC-controlled or private land.

by David Alpert on Jan 19, 2011 3:50 pm • linkreport

Frankly, any stadium location that isn't RFK and isn't Baltimore would be great. I love RFK, but I love the team a heck of a lot more. If they don't get a new stadium, the team is in serious jeopardy of leaving the area.

And frankly, such a storied franchise leaving the District is a tragedy, not just "interesting."

by beardyblue on Jan 19, 2011 3:53 pm • linkreport

@david alpert - thanks, good to know. so the majority of reservation 13 is DC owned, but just RFK and its parking lots are fed owned? how did that come to be?

by sp on Jan 19, 2011 4:11 pm • linkreport

@sp

Reservation 13 used to be federally owned as well, but it was transferred to the District (along with Poplar Point and some other properties) as a means to increase the District's tax base as well as a way to develop those areas.

RFK stadium predates home rule. As running the stadium is a purely local endeavor, control of the stadium was passed on to DC, but land ownership is retained by the Feds via a long term lease on the land. The RFK site includes the stadium itself and all of the parking lots - it's about 190 acres total.

The lease has conditions, one of which is that DC may only use the land for stadium related purposes, and those appear to be only related to RFK stadium in particular. Also, since the site (broadly) represents the terminus of a key corridor (East Capitol Street), the NCPC has their eyes on it for something fancy.

The takeaway is that DC can't really do anything on that land by-right except to continue to operate RFK stadium. Building a new stadium there will likely require Congressional intervention (to transfer land) and a lot of executive branch outreach (to work with NCPC, NPS, to say nothing about dealing with the DC Armory and the DC National Guard). In short, the most obvious site to build a stadium on has the most procedural hurdles.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2011 5:06 pm • linkreport

Why is Poplar Point off the table?

by Phil on Jan 19, 2011 5:09 pm • linkreport

@Phil

I don't think it's off the table for development, but I do think it's likely off the table in a timeframe that works for DC United's needs.

Poplar Point will happen, but given the state of construction financing as well as the shock to commercial real estate in the recession, I think it will be quite a while before Poplar Point is up and running - and that site will require a great deal of infrastructure before it's ready to host thousands of soccer fans.

Investment would still be needed at the other sites as well, but not nearly at the same scale as Poplar Point, where you're basically building something from nothing.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2011 5:15 pm • linkreport

FWIW, the point Alex B. made about RFK is apt. This is a clear case where planning and transportation demand management protocols ought to be in place "to require" high transit service wrt the placement of a stadium.

WRT Uline Arena, it's been designated for at least 3-4 years. I led the effort, I just don't remember when the exact date of the hearing was. I think it was 2007.

I can't imagine Gallaudet would favor a soccer stadium adjacent to the campus in the Florida Market, unlike the speculation above. It would totally change the intent of the area and the ability to use as they intended the property they own west of 6th Street.

Again, remember that these things sit empty much of the year. That's why they should be plunked down in places where their deadening effect isn't so painful, and where, if properly programmed, they aren't so deadening.

Banneker Overlook story from the Post, 2004:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A1420-2004May29?language=printer

by Richard Layman on Jan 19, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

Oh, Uline was designated in 2006.

by Richard Layman on Jan 19, 2011 5:30 pm • linkreport

It's also worth emphasizing that a 22-25k seat urban stadium wouldn't be very large. I think a lot of people equate a new stadium with something the size and footprint of RFK or, heaven help us, FedEx.

As an example, here's a picture of 115-year old Craven Cottage, the home stadium of London based Fulham. It seats 25k, is quite small, and fits right in next to the Thames.

Map bird's eye view: rotate it around to see how low it sits. Also note the lack of parking lots.

There are many other examples of stadia of similar capacity, as well.

by jyindc on Jan 19, 2011 5:33 pm • linkreport

I enjoy the new stadium delays. RFK should be sued as long as possible, it's a great venue.

"But its old." No it's not. Congress building is old. RFK is not old.

As for Buzzard Point, it would be nicely served by ferries.

by JJJJJ on Jan 19, 2011 6:19 pm • linkreport

@jjjjj

RFK is an OK venue, it needs a lot of work.

That's not why DCU wants out - they want out because it's economically obsolete, and the cost required to renovate it up to their needs would be greater than the cost of building a new stadium from scratch.

And while RFK has some great memories, it is not a great soccer venue by any stretch of the imagination.

In short - the reason DCU wants out has nothing to do with age and everything to do with cost and function.

by Alex B. on Jan 19, 2011 6:27 pm • linkreport

Put it at the giant parking lot at 10 and H in downtown DC. Just the right size for a field and medium-sized seating venue... and great location that can also host other outdoor events!

by KFLO on Jan 19, 2011 10:01 pm • linkreport

What's the typical size of the crowds at DC United home games?

Hate to say this - but is it even worth it to have an MLS team here in DC?

by Shipsa01 on Jan 19, 2011 10:31 pm • linkreport

Buzzard Point would be great. I live nearby and would welcome more visitors to the neighborhood and its businesses. I also love the FL Ave market and wouldn't want it displaced. Two stadiums close to each other could create some great synergy. It's not hard for the United to pay for extra 71 buses or its own shuttles from the metros on game days, and it's a pretty bikeable location (bike valet is a must!). I concur with jjjjj that water taxis (from georgetown/alexandria/natl harbor) would rock.

I did want to clarify one point--you say "Across from the site is historical Fort McNair — beautiful, yet completely off limits." A friend of mine went there for a (federal but non-military) work picnic: http://www.jbmhhmwr.com/index/McNair_O_Club.html and they have the Twilight Tattoo in May and June http://twilight.mdw.army.mil/index.html. According to this http://www.ndu.edu/info/visitingndu.cfm, there is also pedestrian access to the fort. I agree though that it feels very seperate from the surrounding community and I've never tried to go in (though they have a post office and an ATM that would be super convenient for me!)

by sb on Jan 19, 2011 10:31 pm • linkreport

@Shipsa01

I'm trying to bite back the angry response that your comment makes me want to fire off and tell myself, hey, before I got into soccer I probably would have felt the same way. First off, soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States. MLS has been adding new teams every year, and many cities are clamoring to have a team. In 2009, MLS added a team in Seattle; last year, in Philadelphia; and this year, in Vancouver and Portland.

DC United is the most decorated franchise in the highest level of professional soccer in the United States. It has produced legends both of the league and the US Men's National Soccer Team. DC United fans are among the most passionate in the league and (in my biased opinion) in all of sports. Many fans stand, sing, and cheer throughout the matches. The average home attendance at matches in 2010 (which was a horrible season for United, their worst in history because of injuries and underperforming trades, as well as coaching uncertainty) was 14,479. The best attendance of the season was 30,367 in their 3-2 defeat of AC Milan, a top team in Italy's Serie A, the best league in that county.

United's charitable arm, United For DC, does massive amounts of community service and provides donations to a number of local organizations to provide opportunities to disadvantaged youth. The Screaming Eagles, a DC United supporters' club of which I am a member, also does charitable work through community service and donations.

In other words, having a team is a tremendous boon to the community, not to mention thousands of devoted fans. If you've not been to a match, I strongly encourage you to go. When I went, I thought I would have a decent time and probably not like it and not come back. A few years later and I'm a member of three different supporters' clubs, support teams in two different leagues, and also find time to support my country as well. No other sport, in my opinion, affords opportunities such as those.

Vamos United.

by beardyblue on Jan 19, 2011 10:55 pm • linkreport

Ok, fair enough - that was a snarky response I made so I'll apologize and retract it. But you're still dealing with a large building (even that one on the Thames takes up a good amount of room) for a team that gets about 15,000 for 15 games (just looking at their schedule - they play about 30, right? maybe that will expand in the future with more teams, but I guess it's what it is for right now.) Couldn't they just do what the DC Kastles do and set up some temp stands and astroturf at City Center and call it a season? Snarky again? Sorry - I really don't mean to belittle soccer; I just don't see the worth or value of a stadium for them. Will it one day get there? Who knows. I remember after going to see World Cup games in East Rutherford at the old Meadowlands that soccer was going to be the next big thing professionally. That was 1994!

by Shipsa01 on Jan 19, 2011 11:22 pm • linkreport

Shipsa01, MLS teams play more than 30 games a year. Yes, the SEASON is 32 games (not including playoffs), but unlike other american sports, there is a LOT going on during the offseason, most notably the COCNACAF champions league which is against the best teams in ALL of north america.

Add in friendly games, US national visits, and other tournaments like the superliga, and you have 25 or so home games a year.

Not baseball, but not the 10 a year with the NFL.

And thats for one team, mind you. With their own stadium, DC could try to woo a female team and an outdoor lacrosse team to fill other dates.

Also, 15,000 is lowballing it. Thats what DC got last year....but the team was terrible. Absolute crap. They average 20,000 usually.

Seattle sells 36,000 for every game.

As for 1994.....MLS didn't even exist in 1994.

And the worth for them is that MLS teams with their own stadium generally profit, and those without generally don't. There are exceptions both ways, but that's how it seems to be.

by JJJJJ on Jan 20, 2011 1:04 am • linkreport

Re: attendance figures. They will undoubtedly go up with a new stadium. I only go to United matches once in a while, but if DC builds a cool urban soccer stadium that enhances the fan experience (nearby bars, restaurants, transit, etc) then I'm all over season tickets.

by DC Dawg on Jan 20, 2011 8:43 am • linkreport

BOTH locations sound bad!!!

The parking lot at RFK is the way to go.

by Christian Adolf Jugensen III on Jan 20, 2011 8:52 am • linkreport

We cannot afford an other staduim, and it does nothing for economic development for DC whatsoever. Please everyone take a moment and read this study! Please we have much more important things to do with our dollars, don't be fooled by the District or the Team!

http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv23n2/coates.pdf

STOP THE MADNESS!

by No Stadium on Jan 20, 2011 9:24 am • linkreport

I think it's partly a red herring to say that Nationals Park hasn't prompted the promised redevelopment of the Buzzards Point area because making that statement in isolation ignores how the economy went in the toilet during the last few years. It's perfectly understandable, and I think to be expected, that developers focused on the M Street area first. It's a higher-traffic area and it's on top of the Metro station. Development of that area began with the ballpark construction and then the economy collapsed. Development then stagnated. Notice how the ballpark area as a whole, even the buildings that have been built along M Street, hasn't filled in quite as quickly as the area around the Verizon Center--but when the arena opened back in 1997, the economy was a lot stronger than it is now.

I think Buzzards Point may face a couple of other problems, though much of this is speculation. It's a highly industrial area and I would not be surprised to learn that there is soil and groundwater contamination back there. It's fairly common to find that sort of thing in an industrial area. Buying out the industries back there may not be a huge issue, but remediating the sites could be. There are also what appear to be a couple of electrical substations or large transformers and the like that would require careful planning for their relocation. I don't know to what extent they're a vital part of the power grid, but relocating that sort of thing isn't easy.

I park in various places back in Buzzards Point when I go to Nationals games. It's a creepy area, and the only reason I feel safe parking back there is the presence of other folks going to games. The area could definitely stand to be redeveloped, and there's something to be said for the idea of a Philadelphia-style "sports complex" where you put multiple venues in the same area. But that neighborhood just strikes me as one where the cost of preparing the site for construction (which would have to be done regardless of how it's redeveloped) might be significant enough that using the land for a sports stadium might not be an economically efficient use of the property because the return might be too low. I don't mean to put down DC United by saying that. Some sports usage can be very beneficial--the Verizon Center being the classic example, but it's fair to recognize that an arena gets a HUGE amount of non-sports use (trade shows, college fairs, concerts, the circus, the equestrian show, all sorts of stuff) whereas a soccer stadium will not.

In some ways, I wonder if the ideal location for a DC United stadium might be somewhere in Arlington County. I recall there was a suggestion about building a baseball venue in Crystal City on Costco's property. I don't know whether that property is still there or whether a soccer stadium might fit there, but given the very large Latin American contingent in United's fanbase, and given the very large Latin American population in Arlington (especially the Columbia Pike corridor, which is planned to have that streetcar service in the next few years), I wonder if putting a stadium there would bring the team closer to an important element of its fanbase.

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 9:30 am • linkreport

Another potential advantage of placing it next to the Nats stadium is that if MLS switches to the more common fall-winter-spring season, that area would have activity year-round. I would think that would better support local businesses.

I don't know if that switch will happen; but I understnad there has been talk in the MLS about it.

And 8 blocks? Really? That's a short walk. The Sounders fans gather in Pioneer square before their games and march the 5 or 6 blocks. Seems doable.

by rdhd on Jan 20, 2011 9:47 am • linkreport

I think most/all potential spots in Virginia have been ruled out because of Virginia's unwillingness to do anything to support the stadium (and I'm not talking money, I mean zoning, infrastructure, etc.). Similarly, the RFK site would be phenomenal, but it's unrealistic because the District doesn't control that land - the feds, through NPS do.

Also, the issue potential locations for a stadium and whether United will get the sort of "deal" MLB got for the Nats are different questions and shouldn't be conflated. The team knows (and it bloody well should by this point) that the city is not going to fork over wads of cash to build a stadium; that's why Will Chang and Kevin Payne are actively seeking additional, local investors and working with private land owners to site the stadium.

by The AMT on Jan 20, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

Well said, AMT.

Locating the stadium and financing the stadium are two separate discussions and should not be conflated.

I also think that a soccer stadium can and will get a lot more use than just DC United games. If the Women's pro league survives, they will likely play there. There will always be international games - RFK as it is hosts several of these a year, both US International games and games between two unrelated countries. El Salvador's team plays in DC rather often, it's a means to raise money and take advantage of the local immigrant population.

There's also the opportunity to host the local Lacrosse league team, currently stationed in Annapolis. Plus, given DCU's community orientation, I'd imagine they'd aim to host local soccer games/tournaments when appropriate. The University of Maryland has an excellent program, I'll bet they'd play a game or two a year there - etc.

The point is that a 20-30k outdoor stadium is a specific market niche that the DC area doesn't have, and there will be events to help fill it beyond just DCU games.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

One thing to consider about the Florida Market site is that it'd be very easy to run extra post-game metrorail service from the nearby Brentwood rail yards, and that you could even utilize the Green Line shortcut if there was the demand for it (or the Orange/Blue Line shortcut for inbound traffic, although that'd most likely be weird and confusing).

Right now, WMATA has to guess when Nats games end so that the trains start showing up at Navy Yard around the right time. Being situated near a railyard would be a big bonus. (On the other hand, Soccer games have a much more predictable length than Football or Baseball)

This doesn't reduce my NIMBY gut instinct, although there are certainly worse things that could be put in my neighborhood.

by andrew on Jan 20, 2011 10:56 am • linkreport

While I'm not super keen on the FLA market site for a DC United stadium I could probably come around if a deal was arranged that a public market that rivaled Granville Island Public Market was also constructed on adjacent land.

by Paul S on Jan 20, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

But why do we have to have that specific niche stadium? Does that make us a major city if we do and if we don't we'll always be considered 'second-class?' We have Verizon Center, Convention Center, Nats Stadium and (I hate to say this) Fedex Field for concerts, events and sports.

I just read that the NY team plays in Harrison, NJ in their own soccer-specific stadium. Maybe we should cut a deal with Maryland and put one of those on the soon-to-be purple line stops. And then it could be used by the United, the men's and women's UMD teams, the DC Women's Professional team, the lacrosse team, the women's powder-puff football team, the women's roller derby team, the Pakistani cricket guys who play on the Mall on Saturday mornings, WAKA kickball leagues, etc etc

by Shipsa01 on Jan 20, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

Regarding Andrew's point about using the Green Line Shortcut: WMATA's not likely to do that because it creates a situation where people remain on the platform near the stadium for a longer time waiting for the "correct" train, instead of boarding the first train and then changing at a later stop. When the Expos first moved to DC to become the Nationals, I wrote in to WMATA to suggest running a special Red Line service from Stadium-Armory to either Farragut North, Grosvenor, or Shady Grove, using the tunnel that connects the westbound Orange/Blue tracks to the northbound Red tracks just to the west of McPherson Square. (The special train would terminate via the pocket tracks if it didn't go all the way to Shady Grove.) They responded that it was an interesting idea but that they didn't want to do it because their primary goal at Stadium-Armory was to clear the platform as quickly as possible to make room for the additional passengers trying to enter the station (compare to how security at Navy Yard must occasionally prevent people from starting down the escalators after Nationals games). They were concerned that if people knew there was a Red Line train coming, they'd wait on the platform for that train (out of fear that if they tried to change trains later, it would be too crowded to get on) and it would therefore be harder for other people to enter the stop.

I think they made a valid point, recognizing that RFK's circumstances were somewhat different because it is located on the shared Orange/Blue trackage and you're talking about (a) a location served solely by the Red Line and (b) running trains away from the downtown core rather than towards the major transfer hubs at Gallery Place and Metro Center. I rather doubt they'd reach any other conclusion as to the Florida Avenue location.

(That's not to say it's a bad idea to consider. Those sorts of things are exactly the sorts of ideas that people ought to be suggesting to WMATA, even if there are sound reasons for ultimately rejecting the suggestions. The real shame is that the people who designed the Metrorail system didn't construct more flying junctions to allow for service diversions or special service patterns for big events. For example, all of us who live south of the Beltway in Fairfax County and who attend Nationals games would like it if there were a practical way to run Metrorail service out of Navy Yard and over the Fenwick Bridge into Virginia without having to reverse directions at the interlocking north of L'Enfant Plaza. But there's no point blaming the current WMATA Powers That Be for mistakes made 40 years ago.)

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 11:22 am • linkreport

I'm not even sure what you're asking.

Why have the stadium? Because the team wants it, and they are willing to program it.

If you're asking why pay for it, that's different. But you're not asking that, you're asking why even have such a facility. This is an incomprehensible question to me.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 11:23 am • linkreport

My second paragraph of my previous comment was maybe a little unclear. When I said "you're talking about," I was referring to Andrew's post regarding the Florida Avenue location. RFK's situation was one where there were a lot of Orange and Blue trains coming through right after games and heading towards L'Enfant Plaza and Metro Center, thus making it easy for people to board the first arriving train and then to disperse at later stops. It allowed the crowding to dissipate throughout the Metrorail system. The Florida Avenue location would present a different situation.

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

Sorry, my comment was directed at Shipsa01's comment at 11:18 am.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

At this point, I don't think Shipsa01 needs to be dignified with a response. He's just trolling (i.e. intending to annoy) and not providing any actual discourse.

by beardyblue on Jan 20, 2011 11:27 am • linkreport

Also worth considering:

The footprints highlighted the Florida Market thumbnail is WAY too big. Playing around with the ruler tool on Google Maps shows that the small riverfront stadium in London (seats 25,000) has a total footprint of ~630x390ft. Anfield, which houses Liverpool FC seats over 45,000 and only occupies ~630x490 feet of ground space.

There are a *lot* of places in DC where you could cram a stadium that size. (My original suggestion for on top of the Barney Circle Freeway actually fits almost *perfectly*. The Buzzard Point site is also roughly the correct size, and almost a bit *too* big, which may be good if Soccer continues to grow, and the stadium is designed with future expansion in mind.)

Other sites:
The gigantic Senate Parking lot (Ha!)
The area of the Florida Market bounded by the Amtrak railroad, and 4th St NE. You'd only displace about 4 businesses (albeit the largest in the market) on this site. There is enough vacant land nearby to relocate at least half of these without leaving the bounds of the market.

The air rights over the Delaware Ave Amtrak railroad are also sufficiently large to house a stadium of this size.

About half a dozen sites near RFK....

by andrew on Jan 20, 2011 11:28 am • linkreport

Re: Alex B - sorry for the confusion over the question. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is what's in it for DC to have that type of a niche-stadium? And what do you mean by the team will "program it." Is that like find ways to fill it the other 350 days of the year?

by Shipsa01 on Jan 20, 2011 11:32 am • linkreport

Yes, the team will find a way to fill the stadium with events. Just like the Verizon Center does so outside of football and hockey. It is in their financial interest to do so.

DC is the center of the region. This is the logical place for these kinds of facilities.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

@Shipsa01:

I totally agree. I don't understand why we need Mexican restaurants when we have pizza parlors. Just seems superfluous to me.

by oboe on Jan 20, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

Of course - but won't that put them in direct competition with our other stadiums and arenas? (And if that's way off, please excuse my stupidity.) So if Jay-Z (or whoever you kids listen to nowanddays... wants to go on tour - does (in the current situation) the Verizon Center bid on him against Nats Stadium? We paid damn good public money to build Nats Stadium; and we're trying to build up that area - wouldn't having him play there make more sense than at a United Stadium?

Does that make sense? Again, I'm not trying to belittle soccer or soccer fans; I enjoy playing soccer, watching soccer, etc - I'm just trying to see why it makes sense from DC's perspective (both economic and urban planning-wise to have another stadium/arena. That's all. Not looking to pick a petty fight.

by Shipsa01 on Jan 20, 2011 11:44 am • linkreport

@Ships,

Baseball stadiums are filled for 81 games per year, and essentially offline to most concerts/other events during most of the days with potentially good weather.

A similarly-sized (or smaller) soccer stadium, only used for soccer games once or at most twice a week, provides that type of stadium that can be used for a number of outdoor events (concerts, college/high school playoffs, lacrosse, large memorial services, political rallies, etc) for which the baseball stadium might be feasible but is not available. Most of these events would be too small for FedEx/RFK.

Whether tax money should go into it--either for construction or infrastructure--is debatable, but a city and area the size of DC should be able to provide a significant number of events to ensure that the stadium is used 2-3 times a week from April-October. Not as often as Nats Park or Verizon, but much higher than RFK/FedEx.

by Jacques on Jan 20, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

Jacques - thanks for the info. I guess I'm just thinking about when all these stadiums get built everyone always says: "oh, of course the high schools can use them. They're the people's stadium! They'll be used 350 days of the year." And then naturally when they're built they wind up like a Fedex Field or a Nats park where they're used for their one main purpose plus like 3-5 additional events and sit vacant 95% of the rest of the time. It just never seems to pan out - which is why I like what the Kastles do so much (even though we do have the Carter Barron courts..)

by Shipsa01 on Jan 20, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

I think Shipsa01 is making a somewhat valid point. It's understandable why some people would ask why United can't use one of the existing facilities in the DC area (RFK, FedEx, Byrd Stadium, Nationals Park). There are a number of reasons there. Nationals Park isn't an option because the soccer field won't fit. A regulation-size soccer field is wider than a football gridiron, and football fields barely fit into baseball stadiums as it is (consider the problems when Northwestern played Illinois at Wrigley Field last fall). There are a few exceptions, such as Yankee Stadium, and obviously convertible facilities exist (the SkyDome....err, Rogers Centre....in Toronto or Stade Olympique in Montreal). But Nationals Park isn't one of them. Even FedEx is somewhat narrow for a proper-sized soccer field. If you want an example of a large US stadium that was designed to fit soccer, look at the Miami Dolphins' stadium. Joe Robbie specifically required that a full-size soccer field fit in there--and some Dolphins season-ticket holders have complained about it ever since because the stands are slightly further from the sideline than at other NFL venues.

Second, as others have noted, soccer draws a smaller crowd in most circumstances. Let's say United played at FedEx. That stadium seats 91,000+. Even a crowd of 45,000 (RFK's current capacity) will look extremely small in there. It looks bad on TV and it looks bad in the stadium. In addition, the rent charged doesn't necessarily depend on the expected crowd size. The expense of opening the stadium for a game, providing utilities, amortizing wear and tear, cleaning the place afterwards, etc., isn't necessarily based on the expected attendance because some of the costs are relatively static regardless of whether you have 90,000 people or 20,000 people.

Third, I'm not really sure to what extent the venues compete against each other these days. There are a lot fewer bands playing stadiums these days compared to 20 years ago. It seems like most of the major tours focus on arenas. U2's current tour (stopped at FedEx) is an exception because the stage is too big to fit indoors. Traditionally baseball-specific stadiums were disfavored for concerts due to the seating arrangement and due to baseball team's legitimate desire not to allow spectators into the infield (might damage the pitcher's mound, among other reasons). That's been changing in recent years, but the number of concerts in baseball stadiums is still relatively small.

I think the biggest thing with concerts is two-fold:

(a) Indoor arenas are specifically designed to accommodate concert stages and the seats can be sold based on that. At Verizon, for example, the seats at either end of the floor are on movable stands that fold up to allow the stage to fit. You don't have that at outdoor stadiums. When you play a concert there, you lose seating capacity. So there is little reason to play a 20,000-seat soccer stadium (concert capacity likely several thousand less than that due to the stands at one end probably being obstructed) versus a 20,000-seat arena (designed for that purpose with minimal loss of seating). Or, put differently, if you have a stage set designed for a 20,000-seat space, you'll probably go for the arena because your set will inherently be designed for an arena since far more cities have those facilities than have soccer stadiums. Just about any city with a significant college basketball program will have an arena that can accommodate a big-name musical tour playing arenas, yet many of those same cities will not have a large enough stadium.

(b) Where a band decide to mount a stadium tour, they're going to look to the big stadiums, not to the smaller soccer facilities. Consider U2 playing only the biggest NFL or college football stadiums (local shows were at FedEx and Scott Stadium) or the Billy Joel/Elton John tour that stopped at Nationals Park. Stadium tours are EXPENSIVE due to the larger set required, greater amplification, higher facility rent, etc. Stadiums often also impose additional charges to re-sod the field if the concert takes place during the season so as to minimize the risk of player injury. At an arena you don't have that issue.

That's not to say a soccer stadium is limited to hosting soccer. The NCAA Division I-AA football championship for the season that just ended was played in FC Dallas's soccer stadium. That's a good use for that sort of stadium because I-AA football tends to fly under the radar and draws a smaller crowd, but most schools' home stadiums are too small for a major game like the national championship (consider William & Mary, which has an outstanding football team but has a stadium that barely seats 10,000, if that).

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

i live near the capital city markets and i hope to god it doesnt get built here.
or with any dc taxpayer money. we pump enough money into sports as it is.
i want the capitol city market rejuvenated, not destroyed.

by ward5guy on Jan 20, 2011 12:07 pm • linkreport

ward5guy: You didn't bother to read the article or any of the comments, did you?

by Chris on Jan 20, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

Thanks for all that info, Rich! And if the choice is building a new stadium or giving Dan Snyder a penny of rent money I'll vote for building a new stadium.

by Shipsa01 on Jan 20, 2011 12:14 pm • linkreport

Re: concerts at any stadium that might get built for DCU: I'd amend Rich's comments to say that despite the available of an arena (Verizon) at that seating point, there *is* a niche to fill there. It's the one that's currently used by Nissan/Jiffy Lube/whatever they're calling it these days in Virginia, or Merriweather Post in MD. There are a zillion similar sized indoor arenas in northern NJ and NY, but concerts still play at the soccer stadium (Red Bull Arena) in Harrison, NJ.

by Chris on Jan 20, 2011 12:27 pm • linkreport

Good point about the amphitheatres. I completely forgot about those, perhaps because I despise going to the one in Virginia due to the traffic. Those venues fill a certain need as well, and certain performers prefer those to the indoor arenas in part for atmosphere reasons. Jimmy Buffett is probably the prime example.

Springsteen played amphitheatres on his "Sessions Band" tour in 2006 but normally plays arenas or stadiums. I imagine the nature of the bluegrass-themed show on that tour probably influenced the decision.

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 12:49 pm • linkreport

Re: concerts - The 20-30k stadium is a niche. It is different than the amphitheaters, and it's different from arenas, and it's different from megastadia like FedEx or M&T. To some extent, there might be competition between venues, but I think they're more likely to complement each other by pulling in different acts and events that are looking for different things in a venue. Hell, DC101 holds yearly festivals in the RFK parking lot, not even in the stadium.

As a tangent, it would be a trip to go to a concert (let alone play one) in a stadium designed like Boca Juniors' place in Buenos Aires (which some were discussing above as a design solution for the Buzzard Point site). To fit into the small footprint of the stadium, the seating is sloped very, very steep.

by The AMT on Jan 20, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

"The footprints highlighted the Florida Market thumbnail is WAY too big. Playing around with the ruler tool on Google Maps shows that the small riverfront stadium in London (seats 25,000) has a total footprint of ~630x390ft. Anfield, which houses Liverpool FC seats over 45,000 and only occupies ~630x490 feet of ground space."

It should be noted that both Liverpool and Fulham (while still playing there) regard their stadiums to be outdated. Mostly because their footprints would not sustain 21st century additions and amenities - and increased capacity.

That said, I do think that a United stadium could absolutely be built to coincide with an excellent urban mixed development. No, the playing surface and stands will not be used 365 days a year (if United and Akridge pay for it, do you mind?) - built the exterior could be used for much more every day - just like Verizon Center. Put in retail, maybe even a grocery store for the rest of the development, a pub that would serve match goers and the general public. Nats Park is starting to house non-profits, I believe. This has been the recent model in the UK - partner with retailers or business developers to subsidize the cost of the project. Some examples...

Leyton Orient (East London)
http://www.homes24.co.uk/doc.html?_a=view&id=1899533
http://www.county4life.com/leytonground.jpg

Coventry City
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricoh_Arena#History_and_background

Colchester United
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colchester_Community_Stadium#Facilities

Chelsea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stamford_Bridge_%28stadium%29#Other_features

by Kev29 on Jan 20, 2011 1:36 pm • linkreport

(consider William & Mary, which has an outstanding football team but has a stadium that barely seats 10,000, if that)

The other teams in the (increasingly excellent) CAA all also have generally small stadiums, and are almost all within driving distance to DC. Seating capacity at W&M's stadium is a bit complicated. It's officially 12,000, but higher in reality because temporary stands are constructed in the endzones during the season, and there's a bit of standing room. Of course, regular season games don't even fill it a third of the way, so I'm not sure that any of the CAA teams would want to host regular-season games in DC. This would get them at most one, maybe two events per season. (I'm drifting offtopic aren't I?)

Although amphitheaters probably do make for better venues, the ones in DC suck because of the distance that you have to drive to use them. (Getting to Merriweather is only half the pain -- parking there is a nightmare, and the venue itself is nothing to write home about). On the other hand, I'm sure that IMP (Owners of the 9:30 club, and promoters of many Merriweather events) would move their events to a medium-sized DC-based venue if one was available, simply because of the increased capacity and ticket sales.

(Sidenote: DC also lacks a decent 2-5,000 person venue. DAR Hall is awful for the shows that IMP hosts there. Nothing to kill the mood like sitting down for a rock show.)

by andrew on Jan 20, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

@andrew

I know the 9:30 club was looking to lease or purchase Uline arena and try to convert it into that kind of 5,000 seat venue at some point in time - I want to say that was before Jemal purchased it.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

Does anyone here remember how the centerfield area at Nats Park was scarred from the stage Dave Matthews Band erected for their concert during the All-Star Break?

by Jason on Jan 20, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

@Jason

Yes. Which is why these MLS-scale stadiums usually feature a stage of some sort built in to the stands which can then be covered by bleacher seating for soccer games.

by Alex B. on Jan 20, 2011 2:38 pm • linkreport

@Jason The field never really recovered from it, actually.

I think the original Poplar Point stadium proposal included a stage built into the stands (whether there were bleachers that rolled out over it or not I don't recall). It's a feature that's not uncommon in newer MLS stadiums, actually. If they don't have bleachers over them, some teams actually sell tickets on the stage as a "party deck."

by The AMT on Jan 20, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

Rich, you're incorrect about a soccer stadium not being a good concert venue. Look at the built-in stage at the Chicago Fire's stadium:

www.Chicago-fire.com/toyota-park

Here's the website for the Los Angeles
Galaxy's Home Depot Center: www.homedepotcenter.com. Notice how many other events are held there other than soccer games (The Galaxy shares their stadium with Chivas similar to the Giants-Jets in the NFL.)

Other teams have stages built into their stadiums too like the Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. It's very common to build a stage into a 25k soccer stadium and they tend to have no problem booking them with events in addition to soccer if they want.

by Cavan on Jan 20, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

@Alex - if we're not careful, people are going to talk ;)

by The AMT on Jan 20, 2011 2:40 pm • linkreport

Some really good posts here on the sizes, uses, payments and issus. Good reading mostly.

I'll stick with my original: Build it! Keep DC United in DC!

Please.

by Greent on Jan 20, 2011 2:59 pm • linkreport

There is nothing worth saving about the Florida Avenue Market. I even like things on the gritty side but this is a crime hub. On my trips there I've been offered drugs & had people offer to steal my car as it's insured & I'd be doing a "good deed".

While I prefer it get revitalized there has been zero progress. Build a stadium, market, condos or level it.

by JohnDC on Jan 20, 2011 3:35 pm • linkreport

Andrew noted, regarding CAA football, "Of course, regular season games don't even fill it a third of the way, so I'm not sure that any of the CAA teams would want to host regular-season games in DC."

I didn't mean to suggest they'd want to play regular-season games in DC. I'm sure they wouldn't, actually. I was referring to the I-AA championship game, which this year (it was earlier this month) was played at FC Dallas's stadium in (I believe) Frisco, Texas. If DC United had their own ground, it might be a venue for that sort of event. Sorry if I was unclear about that.

by Rich on Jan 20, 2011 3:40 pm • linkreport

More events that a DC United sized stadium would be perfect for - NCAA lacrosse regular season games and postseason tournaments. Events like this... http://www.faceoffclassic.com/ and tournament quarter-finals can bring Baltimore or Annapolis 20-30k visitors for a weekend. Stuff DC misses out on at the moment.

And it might be a little chilly in DC for it, but the NCAA Soccer College Cup brings in a good crowd as well. Heck, if they make it 30,000 seats, they could play the Military Bowl there.

by Kev29 on Jan 20, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

Buzzards Point is nice - but a ROUGH neighborhood (lot of public housing).

Would be nice - wishful thinking - if DC could put all the stadiums together - as they did in Philly with the Linc, Citizens Bank Park, et al... so when it is "off season" at one, you could still use the ample parking. Of course- ample parking? That brings it back to RFK... and I'm sure Danny and the Skins have that all scoped out.

by FJ on Jan 20, 2011 4:50 pm • linkreport

"currently extant market is certainly unique, but rather frankly looks like a slum from the 1920s. ...However, it's a crime magnet, and in dire need of some sprucing-up. It doesn't really make sense in the context of a 21st-century city (nor did it really make sense in the past century either. I've always been curious as to how it survived and remained viable)"

It is the number one place I would think of to hide a body, were I ever in a position to need to do so.

by Brian White on Jan 21, 2011 12:47 pm • linkreport

I have a better idea:

Tear down raggedy-ass RFK and build a new soccer stadium right on the existing RKF site.

It's a perfect location - near Metro and near 295, providing easy acces by both transit and by car. Plus, there's plenty of parking for the tailgaters.

That way, the wholesale market doesn't get displaced and we don't end up with a stadium nobody can reach.

by ceefer66 on Jul 25, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

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