A plan for the RFK Stadium site includes some ambitious redevelopment concepts, but omits a new facility for the Washington Redskins.
With the Redskins continuing to mull options for a new stadium, a return to the District of Columbia has been discussed. Aside from the tradition it offers–it hosted the team from 1961-1996–the RFK Stadium site has some practical advantages for an NFL team. The stadium could be demolished when its current tenant, the MLS’ D.C. United, departs for a new venue in Buzzard Point, leaving a site that offers convenient access and plenty of land for parking and potential development.
On Thursday, Events DC presented a roughly $490 million redevelopment concept for the site as part of a public hearing. The proposal that was unveiled calls for the area around the stadium to be completely redeveloped, with additions including a new indoor sports complex, a memorial to Robert F. Kennedy, pedestrians bridges, recreation space, and an enclosed food market.
One notable absence from the plan was a stadium for the Redskins or, for that matter, a major sports venue of any kind. Max Brown, the chair of Events DC, and Events DC president and chief executive Gregory A. O’Dell indicated that there have not been discussions with the team about this plan, but it did not sound as if the possibility was being ruled out. More from The Washington Post:
The question of whether the Redskins or another professional team would move to RFK remains open. Brown and O’Dell said they have not discussed their plans with Redskins officials. Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Wizards and Capitals, has talked openly about possibly leaving the Verizon Center. William Hall, an attorney who has represented Leonsis on other facility deals, is an Events DC board member.
Any redevelopment of the RFK Stadium site could take years to come to fruition. Aside from waiting out the United’s move to a new stadium, officials also have to work with the National Park Service, which controls the site and leases it to Events DC. That agreement does not expire until 2038, and the Redskins have a lease at FedEx Field that does not end until 2027. (As an aside, it should be noted that the mortgage on the privately-financed Verizon Center extends into the next decade.)
The plan presented last night hints that the acres around RFK Stadium might at least provide the area with new recreational and green space. With years to sort out the details, however, there is likely to be more discussion about the site’s future.
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