WASHINGTON – There are no shovels in the ground just yet at Buzzard Point in the District of Columbia, but that could be changing soon.
D.C. United's long-running quest to find a soccer-specific home of their own took yet another big step forward on Thursday morning, when D.C. mayor Vincent Gray announced that his office and the city council had reached an agreement to provide the city's $150-million contribution to the stadium deal.
The council voted unanimously on Dec. 2 to approve the deal, which will see the city finance land and infrastructure costs of the project, while the team pays for the stadium itself. The vote comes after part of the deal was altered, when the "land swap" between the city and developer Ackridge was replaced, and the difference in funding was made up for with a supplemental budget.
The Mayor's office immediately balked at the idea, suggesting that the possibility existed that other, unrelated items would find their way into the budget. But as of Thursday, it appears those concerns have been resolved.
"Today, I am pleased to transmit a supplemental budget that will fully finance the District's portion of the new Buzzard Point development." Gray said. "I am happy – because this was a sticking point along the way – that we have an agreement that there will be no other projects that will be considered in the course of that supplemental [budget.]"
Gray added that he was pleased that the plan ensures the city's commitment will remain under the $150 million orignally proposed. Both council chair Phil Mendelson and Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser support the deal. Bowser said on Thursday that she hopes for a "clean vote" later this month.
"This is not just a stadium that will accommodate our soccer team," Gray said. "It also will also be a tremendous catalyst for economic development in an are of the city that is largely devoted to industrial purposes at this stage."
Up next for the stadium plan: A final vote on Tuesday, Dec 16. If the deal passes it will then head to Mayor Gray, an ardent supporter of keeping United in the District from the get-go, for final approval.