Loudoun County has a variety of factors to consider in its pursuit of the Washington Redskins, including whether a stadium can coexist with Dulles International Airport.
Virginia has repeatedly stated its desire to attract the Redskins, with governor Terry McAuliffe emerging as a vocal proponent of a new stadium. For right now the state’s hopes appear to hinge on Loudoun County, which is the most willing partner in Northern Virginia when it comes to these talks.
Local officials have discussed how the Redskins could fit within the county, and many see Dulles International Airport as a potential issue. When trying to plan to a project such as a stadium for a location that is close to an airport, there are multiple issues to address. Along with the quality of life effects such as traffic, noise, and infrastructure, another question is the airport’s operations. As was seen recently with the Oakland Raiders’ ongoing pursuit of a new stadium in Las Vegas, the originally preferred site near McCarran International Airport had to be scratched over concerns from Southwest Airlines.
In Loudoun County, the issue looms large. While there are some potential problems with building near the airport, accessibility and land availability may steer discussion in that direction, particularly since the county will rely on Metro service to bring fans from the DC Beltway region. More from the Washington Post:
A potential location in Loudoun that is drawing considerable interest is the area around the future Loudoun Gateway Metro station by Route 606 on the airport’s northern outskirts.
Because of the noise there, it’s not an attractive site for the kind of dense, mixed-use residential and commercial development that planners usually want to place near a Metro station.
But a stadium, combined with related entertainment and hospitality facilities, could work there.
“If it’s Loudoun, if I were a betting man, then I would say there’s no other option than the Loudoun Gateway station area,” said [Tony] Howard, the chamber of commerce head.
Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), who chairs the board’s finance, government operations and economic development committee, agreed that would be “a logical location” for a stadium if it came to Loudoun.
Another possibility would be inside Loudoun but directly across the Fairfax border from the Silver Line’s future Innovation Center Station by the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.
That would have less airport noise, but sufficient land may not be available because of developers’ interest in it for other purposes.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has not stated a preference on a location for a new stadium, but has made clear the team’s desire to move on from FedEx Field. At this point Loudoun County’s strongest competitor is likely Washington, DC, where some discussions have revolved around building a new stadium at the site of RFK Stadium.