A group of government and business leaders stood on an empty parking lot Thursday to announce that the space would, with some effort, become a state-of-the-art Major League Soccer stadium for D.C. United.
Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. United managing partner Jason Levien and City Administrator Allen Lew set forth a plan they have created to swap land on several sites in the city to make way for the new development in Southwest.
Gray called it a "momentous day for the District of Columbia."
A press release from the Mayor's office set out some of how this swap will happen:
"Under the provisions of the term sheet, the District anticipates that it will swap District-owned property, including the Frank D. Reeves Center for Municipal Affairs, to assemble the stadium site parcels. The plan calls for Reeves Center tenants as well as District agencies currently in leased space to relocate to a new municipal facility in Anacostia near the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road SE. This facility would be developed and funded using a model similar to the District's recently completed 200 Eye Street SE building."
The Reeves Center site, which would be swapped with developer Akridge for a portion of the Southwest site, could become a mixed-use project of residential and retail at the busy intersection of 14th and U Streets, NW.
"What we have frankly is an opportunity to open the door to additional residential and retail development in these neighborhoods and to put the property back on the tax rolls," said Gray about the Reeves Center.
The proposed stadium site — bounded by Half Street and Second Street SW, between R and T Streets — is surrounded by Fort McNair, low-income housing, several abandoned buildings and a scrap metal yard. Several blocks away sits National Park.
D.C. United's Levien said the stadium would mean "a better opportunity for this ward."
Gray has committed the District to pay $150 million to be the "horizontal" developer of the site, meaning the city will work on any land issues and clearing the site. D.C. United will spend $150 million of its own money to build the stadium.
Gray said the city would not be paying for any of the "vertical" development of the site and that if building the stadium costs more than $150 million that cost will be entirely D.C. United's to pay.
Levien said he looked forward to working with the District Council to get feedback and support for the complicated land swaps and development deal.
The team and District leaders just started speaking with local advisory neighborhood commissioners, Lew said.
"It's the beginning of a long journey," he added.