Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/14/2008: The Examiner - Taxpayers to Foot $150M of D.C. United Stadium Costs

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Mayor Adrian Fenty has agreed to use at least $150 million in taxpayer dollars to help build a soccer stadium as part of a deal that will keep D.C. United in the city, The Examiner has learned.

Fenty held a closed-door meeting with District Council members Wednesday and told them that Clark Realty Capital LLC will be paid another $236 million to rebuild the Poplar Point development East of the Anacostia River, city hall sources said. As part of the project, Clark will build a new soccer field for D.C. United, the sources said.

The city would contribute at least $150 million of the total cost of $230 million to build the stadium, multiple sources said.

The plan will be announced today at a news conference.

It comes over objections from council members David Catania, I-at large, and Carol Schwartz, R-at large, who balked at shuffling yet more taxpayer dollars into another stadium project after committing large amounts of public money to the Washington Nationals, sources told The Examiner.

The deal represents a reconciliation between Fenty and Victor MacFarlane, United’s owner. MacFarlane, a prominent developer, had threatened to take his team to the suburbs because Fenty wouldn’t commit public money to a new stadium.

Doug Hicks, a spokesman for the team, refused to comment.

Fenty spokeswoman Carrie Brooks also did not respond to requests for comment.

The mayor was apparently persuaded by his deputy, Neil Albert, council chair Vincent C. Gray and member Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, chair of the council’s finance committee. Gray and Evans met with Albert separately on Monday and mapped out plans to help the mayor win support for United’s public financing.

According to sources familiar with Wednesday’s meeting, Catania — an outspoken critic of the publicly financed Washington Nationals stadium — said Fenty was playing fast and loose with the public’s finances.

Poplar Point deal

» $236 million for “infrastructure”

» $150 million-$230 million to build 27,000-seat stadium

» City to control stadium

Got a tip on the new stadium deal? Call Bill Myers at 202-459-4956 or e-mail

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