The planned Major League Soccer stadium in Buzzard Point might deliver later than expected due to opposition between D.C. United and real estate developers. The Washington Post reported that developers of the stadium told D.C. United that the design will "stifle economic development" and fail to maximize Washington, D.C.’s $150 million investment into the project.
The developers include Western Development, Steuart investment Co., and Capital City Real Estate. In order to pressure D.C. United, the developers penned a letter to D.C. Council member Charles Allen. In the letter, the developers said that they are supportive of a new stadium, but that they are "deeply concerned" with how the design integrates with the neighborhood, and that the design will stifle economic development in the neighborhood. They further wrote:
"The [D.C. United] team has made clear that the proposed design prioritizes the operational efficiently of the stadium at the cost of the surrounding neighborhood. With almost no exterior facing retail, a bollard-lined alley on the east side of the stadium, and the prominent location of the loading docks and broadcast vehicle parking lot, the stadium is a far cry from the original concepts published during the legislative process that better integrated into the neighborhood."
For the entire letter, see below.
The recommendations elaborated further in the document include connecting the stadium to the waterfront, creating a "more exciting game-day environment," adding value to the team’s parcels, increasing the retail revenue potential, and creating free-standing land parcels for ancillary development.
The stadium is expected to be the most expensive stadium in Major League Soccer. The stadium will cost roughly $200 million in construction with $150 million worth of land. A 2014 study expects the project to bring $109.4 million in direct economic benefits to Washington, D.C., as reported by The Washington Post.
On November 2, D.C. United plans on seeking approval from the D.C. Zoning Commission to rezone the site. Construction is slated to begin around January or February. D.C. United’s Jason Levien told The Washington Post that if the stadium doesn’t open in 2018, that could cost the team "tens of millions" of dollars.