Last fall, Events DC revealed two concepts that would forever change the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium-Armory Campus. After months of waiting, the convention and sports authority unveiled the short-term and long-term redevelopment plans for the 190-acre site this Thursday at a community meeting.
There are still three potential anchor scenarios to choose from for the project, warranted by the planned demolition of the RFK Stadium. The D.C. United soccer team will relocate from the 1961-constructed RFK Stadium to the soon-to-be constructed D.C. United Stadium in 2018.
These anchor scenarios include a 20,000-seat arena or an NFL stadium. There is also the option of building no anchor at all.
This spring, Events DC hopes to hold a ribbon cutting for the short-term projects that will cost approximately $490 million. Events DC will contribute approximately $240 million to the project with the remaining funds coming from the District and private sources.
The short-term projects are expected to take two to five years to complete. Below, see the five community amenities that are expected to come.
This roughly 217,000-square-foot project will feature three fields that will be functional at night. Here, there will be a youth soccer field with two baseball diamonds, two soccer and lacrosse fields, a 2,900-square-foot support building, and a picnic area and playground.
The parking lots that will serve these fields also have the possibility of being used as a site for a farmers market.
According to Jason Long of architecture firm OMA, the Market Hall will serve as a “bridge” for Kingman Park and the adjacent River. Here, there will be a variety of fresh food, from specialty food vendors to a grocery store.
The Market Hall is expected to span roughly 61,000 square feet of space. The delivery is slated for Q4 2020.
Sports & recreation complex
Next on the list is the planned approximately 350,000-square-foot sports and recreation complex. Some of the many activities that will take place in this development include indoor basketball and batting cages, soccer, go-karting, bowling, trampoline sports, and laser tag. There will also be a fitness center.
The complex isn’t expected to complete until Q4 2021.
These three pedestrian- and bike-friendly bridges are named, “North,” “Central,” and “South.” They will span around 25,000 square feet.
The North bridge will end at the River Terrace recreation center. It will have a style similar to a wooden boardwalk with a lookout area in the middle.
The 210-foot-long Central bridge will be a prismatic steel-and-stone suspension bridge. It will connect the Heritage Island Trails with the Anacostia Riverwalk.
The industrial-style South bridge will span 171 feet and will connect Kingman Island Trail to the Riverwalk Trail.
Since the RFK Stadium will be demolished, Events DC is planning on constructing a roughly 10,000-square-foot interactive memorial to Robert F. Kennedy. The location and design are still up in the air, but Events DC Chair Max Brown says it will be “something the younger generation ... can use.”
The initial design process will begin either the first or second quarter of 2017. Fundraising will then begin before the regulatory review and approval process will be initiated. This process is expected to take up to seven years.
The memorial is not expected to complete until around 2026.
Green spaces and parking
Currently, the RFK Stadium-Armory Campus houses 5,800 parking spaces and 22.3 acres of green spaces. If all plans follow through, the redevelopment will allow the site to house a total of 5,150 parking spaces and 76 acres of green spaces.
This section of the plans won’t complete until Q4 2021.
What the public thinks
At the meeting, there were pleasant and constructive comments on the project. On the short-term projects, D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen said, “I’m excited to see what some of the potentials are.”
Former Mayor Vincent Gray further stated that it’s “wonderful” to talk about potential community amenities, while talks on replacing RFK Stadium are “overdue.” He added, “Conceptually, this is going in the right direction.”
During the Q&A, ANC6B10 Commissioner Denise Rucker Krepp asked for Events DC to speak with Reservation 13 as the RFK project could interfere with it. Brown assured that communication has already begun with the District Department of Transportation.
Other questions from D.C. residents included worries about whether or not digital billboards would be placed on the facade of the planned sports facility. Brown stated that there are currently no plans for billboards.
A local named Bruce Peters also asked if there would be a pool or some kind of water element added in the project’s short term plans. Currently, there are no plans for this, but an Events DC representative did state that there is flexibility for this if the community pushes for it.
Another worry was whether or not there is enough demand for a Market Hall. D.C. resident Richard Layman said, “I have serious reservations.” Brown responded, saying, “We’ll continue to dig into the financial viability [of the Market Hall].”