SBD/July 12, 2012/Facilities

DC United Want New Venue, Commercial Development On Land Near Nationals Park

Team wants to link stadium, commercial development with area near Nationals Park
MLS DC United ownership wants to "build a stadium and team facility at Buzzard Point, along with public and commercial development that should link their territory with that surrounding Nationals Park," according to Tracee Hamilton of the WASHINGTON POST. There is "zero chance United won't draw well at a cozy home of, say, 22,000 seats." The idea "is to make that area even more attractive to fans before and after the games, and before and after the seasons." If the Nationals and DC United "could find a way to share some parking, as many teams in many cities do, so much the better." Many DC United fans take the Metro to the games and "will miss the Orange and Blue lines, but like Nats fans, they'll adjust." DC United ownership said that they "want a first-class facility, and are willing to pay for it if the city helps out with land acquisition, infrastructure and tax incentives." But "none of those declarations about finding a permanent home included the words 'in Washington.'" The owners -- old and new -- "want to be here, they'll work to stay here, but they also know they are falling behind the rest of MLS, and they have options." One is "right up I-95 in Baltimore." DC should "grab this opportunity." There is a "limited time for DC and United to reach a deal -- the team has a two-year lease” at RFK Stadium. DC United "brings a solid, consistent and diverse fan base." There will "be no better time and there will be no other time" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/12).

BRAIN TRUST: In DC, Thomas Floyd writes DC United General Partner Will Chang, in joining new Managing Partners Erick Thohir and Jason Levien, "has pieced together a balanced mesh of personalities, skill sets and business assets to compliment his own." But the "wild card here is Levien," who was "brash and charismatic, employing confident rhetoric when fielding question after question on the stadium issue." That is "what the organization needs." Meanwhile, Thohir is "the soccer brain in this equation, the one with big ideas who spoke knowledgably about building the roster and said he'd love to dig into his wallet for the right high-profile players" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/12).
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