Mayor Seeks Approval From City Council On Revised DC United Stadium Plan
DC Mayor Vincent Gray on Friday asked the City Council to "approve a complex series of land deals that would allow the city to gain control of an expanse of land a few blocks" from Nationals Park for an MLS stadium, according to O'Connell & Davis of the WASHINGTON POST. Under the deal, DC United would pay about $140M "for the construction of the stadium," while DC taxpayers would fund about $120M "to buy the land on Buzzard Point and pay for improvements to the site." The deal also includes $40M "in tax breaks to lower DC United’s cost of operating the stadium for the first decade." In any year, the deal would "stand as a defining achievement for a big-city mayor, but with about seven months remaining in a lame-duck term, persuading a majority of the council to support the plan could take every ounce of political capital" that Gray still has. It "may not be enough." DC residents and the council "still are torn over taxpayer subsidies for Nationals Park and Verizon Center." Gray’s team "hopes the council will hold an initial vote in favor of the stadium plan and land deals before adjourning for summer recess in July." However, if that timeline "slips at all," the stadium deal would "come up for a first vote in the fall -- in the thick of the mayoral race" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/24). In DC, Deborah Simmons noted there are "too many moving parts before the deal can be signed, sealed and delivered, so stakeholders should pay close attention." The proposal calls for "sweet no-taxation deals that are very complex." DC United "won't begin paying real estate taxes until the fifth outyear -- and then it still will get huge breaks." The plan calls for 51% of the "jobs at the stadium -- guest services, ticket takers, etc. -- to go to DC residents" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/26).