WASHINGTON — Often times, in the world of sports venue negotiations, the line between “want” and “need” is blurred in an effort to hasten negotiations.
That isn’t the case with the Potomac Nationals, the Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The P-Nats play in the 33-year-old Pfitzner Stadium with a waiver from Minor League Baseball that requires them to upgrade the stadium to meet minimum league standards by 2018, or identify a new place to play.
With the clock ticking, there is a growing feeling that Option B might require the team to move elsewhere from its home in Woodbridge, Va.
According to Karen Goff from the Washington Business Journal (premium content), the decision rests in the hands of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, who have mixed feelings about even making a decision.
Commercial land developer JBG has 25 acres set aside for a new venue next to its Wegmans-anchored Stonebridge at Potomac Towne Center, six miles away.
Supervisor Frank Principi represents Stonebridge in his district and supports the $35 million in public bonds necessary to put the plan into action.
“I have determined that, with road improvements, it is in our best interest to move forward with these projects,” he said in an op-ed in the Prince William Times last week. “The benefits significantly outweigh the costs and the perceived risk.”
That perceived risk, as outlined by other members of the board, are that the economic impact of the stadium could be overstated.
The plan for a new P-Nats park is part of a larger economic development effort that could mean a major payoff for the county over the next several decades.
Consultant Brailsford & Dunlavey issued a report that found the project would generate 288 jobs, $4.9 million in tax revenue and $175 million in economic impact over 30 years.
If the measure gets approval, the Nationals could retain its closest geographic affiliate and the D.C. region could gain a premier sports destination. If not, it could be the end of the road for the Potomac Nationals.