- D.C. United and landowners near the soccer team's proposed $300 million stadium have reached a tentative deal on design, all but eliminating the prospect of a prolonged legal fight, the Washington Business Journal reported.
- Neighboring developers had complained that the lack of visible retail and what they considered an uninviting design would undermine their efforts at future development and leasing, as well as fail to lure visitors to the area. The new design has been altered to include outward-facing retail space, among other changes.
- Although the team and former critics are now reportedly on the same page, D.C. United officials asked the D.C. Zoning Commission to delay the next scheduled stadium's public hearing in order to make the necessary design changes.
Earlier this month, the team said it had spent millions on design changes since a zoning meeting in March, when one commissioner said the stadium looked like a prison. Nearby developer Akridge argued that the city wasn't getting its money's worth considering it had kicked in $150 million for the stadium, but D.C. United officials shot back that the landowner's protests were just a ploy to get the team to sell its retail rights.
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. Populous is also the designer for the $150 million Minnesota United MLS stadium planned for St. Paul.
However, not everyone in the waterfront community of Buzzard Point is receptive to the idea of prolonged construction activity. Early on in the project, a group of residents complained that the noise and dust of construction would not be good for the children and elderly residents of the area.
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. The stadium is expected to open in time for the 2018 MLS season.