Virginia’s gubernatorial election is set for November, and the state constitution prevents McAuliffe, who assumed office in 2014, from running for consecutive terms. To this point, he has had made the pursuit of the Redskins a priority, spending much of 2016 pitching the team on a move to Virginia.
The Redskins have an agreement that lasts at FedEx Field in Prince Georges County, Maryland until 2027, but owner Daniel Snyder has been linked to various options, including Virginia and the District of Columbia. In Virginia, McAuliffe has tried to sell the team on a move to Loudon County, citing the fact that the team’s practice facility is already located in the county, and that the state comprises a solid portion of the team’s fan base.
However, because his term is coming to an end, McAuliffe is left with very limited time to court the team. That may also be a factor for Snyder, who could look to narrow his options in the next year, as Rick Snider at CBS Washington explains:
If Snyder truly wants hotly-contested bidding between three jurisdictions, he needs to start now. The District is ready to move on to Plan B and Landmark is already earmarked for other development, though McAuliffe might influence those plans. Building a stadium may only require three years, but fighting inevitable court challenges over sites and legislative trials that forced Cooke to move his proposed site three times means Snyder’s timetable for a deal should be over the next year. And, that fits McAuliffe’s schedule, too.
Snider’s mentions the Landmark Mall as a potential fit for Virginia. The Howard Hughes Corp. recently notified 20 small stores within the mall that they need to close before the end of the month, as the company could be involved in a redevelopment of the Alexandria-based mall. However, Howard Hughes Corp. officials are not offering a timeline on the project. (More on that from The Washington Post).
That would mean moving the proposal out of Loundon County, which appeared to be the state’s most willing partner on a stadium project last year. Regardless of where McAuliffe focuses his efforts, 2017 could be a turning point one way or another for Virginia’s pursuit of the Redskins, as there is no way to predict now what will happen beyond the expiration of his term.
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