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New Arena Could be Model for Future Redskins Stadium Project

FedEx Field

As Washington, DC officials continue to express interest in a future Redskins stadium, a smaller sports facilities project could serve as a model.

The Redskins’ lease for FedEx Field in suburban Prince Georges County, MD runs through the 2027 season, and there are signs that the team is already exploring its options for a replacement. DC officials, meanwhile, are planning for the future of RFK Stadium, the team’s home from 1961-1996. MLS’s D.C. United vacated RFK Stadium after the 2017 season and opened the new Audi Field this summer, leaving the venerable multipurpose facility without a full-time tenant and making its eventual demolition increasingly inevitable.

That is why some DC officials—including mayor Muriel Bowsersee potential for a new Redskins stadium at the RFK site. Along with the nostalgia factor of having the Redskins back in the District, the project would put the stadium at an accessible site that has room for the surrounding development that the team is believed to be seeking.

For right now, the Redskins appear to be biding their time on a decision for a new stadium site, but Washington has a potential model on the way. On September 22, officials will cut the ribbon on the new Entertainment and Sports Arena—a 4,200-seat facility that will host WNBA and NBA G League games. That facility will be part of a larger $65 million project that includes a practice facility for the NBA’s Wizards, as well as residential, office, and retail space. (Sister site Arena Digest has more details.)

Obviously, a future Redskins stadium project would be a costlier endeavor and planned on a much larger scale. However, officials point to the fact that the new arena was a collaboration among the city, Events DC, and Monumental Sports and Entertainment—owner of the Wizards, NHL’s Capitals, WNBA and G League teams, and other franchises—and provides another example of how DC can work in partnership to complete a sports facility project. More from the Washington Post:

While Bowser offered no updates on stadium talks with Redskins officials, whether formal or informal, she did point out that the city has successfully demonstrated its ability to collaborate with Events DC and professional team owners on major construction projects.

“We have now a couple of different models that show how we as a city can support a good partnership with a team,” Bowser said. “We think it’s important for our city, and this [Ward 8 project] is an example. Greg [O’Dell] was also involved in building Nationals stadium; Brian [Kenner] and his team were very focused on getting D.C. United’s home built — so we know how to do our part.”

The future of the Redskins is still far from settled, as owner Daniel Snyder and the organization figure to take their time on a new stadium decision. However, Washington has had a recent run of completing major sports facilities projects, with the arena and Audi Field being the most recent additions. Nationals Park, which opened for MLB’s Nationals in 2008, is also at the center of ongoing development in the city’s Navy Yard neighborhood and surrounding area.

This article first appeared in the weekly Football Stadium Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Football Stadium Digest newsletter.

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August Publications