WASHINGTON – The day D.C. United and their fans have been dreaming about for years may finally have arrived.
United and Washington Mayor Vincent Gray announced on Thursday morning the signing of a $300 million public-private partnership to build a 20-25,000-seat soccer stadium in the Buzzard Point area of Southwest D.C., about a mile-and-a-half south of the US Capitol near the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers.
The new home of the four-time MLS Cup champions will be located adjacent to the Fort McNair Army base, bounded by Half Street and Second Street SW between R and T Streets a few blocks west of the Nationals Park baseball stadium, and is anticipated to be completed in time for the 2016 season.
“We are proud to say that D.C. United has achieved a major milestone towards establishing a permanent, state-of-the-art home in Washington, D.C.,” United managing partner Jason Levien said in a club statement. “This is a significant step forward, and we are going to continue to work diligently and collaboratively with the Mayor’s office and the D.C. Council to expedite this process and make this stadium a reality.”
The costs of the project will be split evenly between United and the D.C. government, with the city funding the acquisition of the land and infrastructure costs and the club paying for the construction of the stadium itself.
The arrangement is linked to a land swap between the District government and the current owners of the “site parcels” where the stadium will be built. D.C. will swap its Frank D. Reeves Center at 14th and U Streets NW (along with other city-owned property) and subsequently relocate government offices to a new municipal facility in the Anacostia neighborhood on the city's east side.
“This is an exciting plan that moves the District forward in two areas about which I’m passionate — economic development, particularly in the East End of the District, and sports,” said Gray. “The new soccer stadium is the final piece in the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative puzzle that, when complete will create the most vibrant and sustainable sports-and-retail district in America.”
Thursday's news is the biggest development in United's decade-long hunt for a home of their own, a quest marked by several false starts and disappointing setbacks. The Black-and-Red have not yet finalized the stadium's design, but have unveiled potential concepts and are evaluating them with respect to top soccer stadiums across the United States and beyond.