Land Deals For Proposed DC United Stadium Miss Deadlines, City Council Wary Of Timing
DC Mayor Vincent Gray five months ago announced an "ambitious plan" to help MLS DC United build a new $300M, 20,000-seat stadium, but his administration has since "missed a series of self-imposed deadlines, including a promise to deliver a land deal for the DC Council to vote on this year," according to O'Connell & Davis of the WASHINGTON POST. As the timeline for approval "slips into next year, a project that Gray hopes will be one of his most recognizable achievements is also likely to become entangled in election-year politics." DC City Administrator Allen Lew said that he is "pressing to complete a complex land swap before Christmas with developers, utilities and business owners to obtain the land" for the proposed stadium and adjacent bars and restaurants on Buzzard Point. Lew was "given a Nov. 15 deadline to share with the council the terms for how the city would obtain the stadium property." Gray had said that this would provide "enough time" for the council to approve the plan before the end of the year. Lew's Dir of Public Affairs Tony Robinson said that Lew is "nearing a stadium pact" with DC United, and that he "hopes to submit a package of proposed deals to the council before Dec. 25." But DC City Council Chair Phil Mendelson said that he is "loath to pressure the council to rush approval." Mendelson: "Intentionally or not, I fear the council is going to be jammed, and this is too expensive a project for us not [to] be careful about it." Robinson said that Lew "hoped to acquire the needed property" for $100M or less. O'Connell & Davis noted Gray "initially committed" to providing up to $150M of the stadium's estimated $300M cost through land and infrastructure (WASHINGTON POST, 12/1).