Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/14/08: The Examiner - United Gets The Ultimate Valentine’s Gift

Mayor Fenty, DC United Announce New Team Ownership
(Andrew Harnik/Examiner)
D.C. United owners Victor MacFarland (left), Will Chang (right), Brian Davis (right) and Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (center), at a recent event for D.C. United owners.

By. Craig Stouffer, The Examiner
WASHINGTON (Map, News) - In a dramatic turnaround, the District of Columbia government has dropped its long-held resistance to a stadium for D.C. United and instead will announce today that it plans to contribute funds for the construction of a 27,000-seat arena at Poplar Point, the Examiner has learned.

The district will pay between $150-230 million to build a soccer-specific stadium — which will keep D.C. United from moving to the suburbs — on top of $236 million to subsidize infrastructure improvements, The stadium plan will be part of an announcement today of the selection of a primary developer for the Poplar Point site, across the Anacostia River from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium.

D.C. United officials did not return calls seeking comment.

After more than two years of informal negotiations over the development of Poplar Point, talks between the district and team over the development of the site broke down seven months ago. United had offered to pay for a stadium, but after talks broke down, was considering possible stadium sites in Greenbelt and New Carrollton.

If the plan is approved, it will become the largest publicly funded soccer-specific stadium in Major League Soccer by far, more than double the estimated $65 contributed by Commerce City, Colo., for Dick’s Sporting Goods Park outside of Denver, which opened last year.

Red Bull is paying $180-200 million for a stadium in Harrison, N.J., outside of New York City, according to reports. The Pennsylvania state government also recently approved a package that included $25 million, combined with $30 million from Delaware County and the city of Chester, toward a stadium in the Philadelphia suburb.

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