- The DC Zoning Commission has delayed a decision on whether to approve the new $300 million D.C. United soccer stadium until Dec. 14 amid questions around parking, signage, transportation and other potential impacts to fans and residents, according to the Washington Business Journal.
- The commission reacted well to the redesign of some stadium features like more public park space, additional street-fronting retail and revisions to access roads. However, lengthy discussions around potential conflicts — like having to share limited parking on Washington Nationals game days and the impact of a bridge reconstruction project beginning next year — forced commissioners to continue deliberations.
- Construction is set to begin in the next several months on the 19,000-seat venue, but continuing approval delays could jeopardize the team's plans to move into the new venue in spring of 2018.
The stadium project has faced multiple challenges on the design front as well as from neighbors, who said that the noise and construction dust would harm the children and elderly residents in the neighborhood. In addition to assuaging commission concerns, the redesign was also a way to keep nearby landowners happy and avoid litigation. Neighboring business owners and developers complained that the uninviting design and lack of visible retail would negatively affect future projects and leasing by failing to bring in visitors to the area.
Demolition work at the site kicked off in April, and the team awarded Turner Construction a $150 million construction contract in July. The Populous-designed venue is expected to generate 1,000 full-time and temporary jobs, as well as provide a $1 billion economic benefit for the community.
Negotiations for the stadium were underway for more than a year before the city agreed to finance the land and associated costs. However, officials were able to finalize the deal when the team agreed to put up a $5 million escrow to protect the city in case the team's stadium plans fell through. The city also agreed to split up to $20 million on construction cost overruns with the team.