WASHINGTON — Since the Washington Redskins departed for Landover in 1997, the future of RFK Stadium and its surrounding lands has been uncertain. What is certain, is that plans need to involve sports.
The land is owned by the federal government and administered by the National Park Service. Washington, D.C. owns the stadium and has a lease on the land that runs through 2038. The only stipulation of that lease is that it must be used for sports and recreation.
And since 1961, it has, providing a home for 12 professional teams and an annual NCAA bowl game.
But with the Nationals embedded at Navy Yard, D.C. United planning a mid-2018 move to Buzzard Point, and the Capitals, Wizards and Redskins all playing coy with future plans, the complex needs a tenant. Events D.C. has offered a possible solution.
The plans are perhaps the first to not include a major professional sports team, instead focusing on three multi-purpose athletic fields for youth sports, a 47,000-square-foot food market, and a sprawling 350,000-square-foot indoor sports complex.
The only kicker is that the plan comes with a price tag of $490 million. But Events D.C. has a solution: the plan can largely be paid for by the city’s transient occupancy tax on hotels and restaurants. Under the proposal, the district would only be on the hook for approximately $83.2 million.
The project also anticipates being a revenue generator:
“What can we do now in the next two-to-five years on this site to capture the economic development that has been happening in the city,” Events D.C. chair Max Brown said, via the Washington Post. “We’ve heard a lot from the community that there are just not enough fields. There aren’t enough fields. Scheduling fields is just an impossible task.
“There is nothing like this around and if we want to attract families to D.C. and have them stay here, we are going to have to have amenities for them and also attract people from out of town.”
The obstacles are plentiful at this point, as Brown estimates that most elements of the plan could be completed by 2038, which pre-supposes an extension on the current lease, a complicated political process between the federal government and district.
The plan would also reportedly need congressional approval to get the financing necessary for the complex, or a new agreement that cuts out the National Park Service. The plans would then face a gauntlet of approvals from various federal and district agencies.
Here is a look at the plan renderings, created by the architects from OMA: