- The D.C. United soccer club overcame its last zoning obstacle Thursday when the DC Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve the $300 million stadium design, according to the Washington Business Journal.
- The team also reached a naming rights agreements with carmaker Audi of America, and the stadium will be called Audi Field. The complex could also feature up to 600,000 square feet of residential and retail space.
- Crews have already started site work, but the official groundbreaking will be held on February 27, with completion slated for summer 2018.
The team walked into the meeting already having received temporary approval back in December. Even though the zoning commission approved the design, they expressed the same concerns and asked the team to continue to focus its attention on potential transportation and environmental issues around the stadium site. Nevertheless, the team can now start the permitting process, and construction could begin within a month or so.
The city is splitting construction costs equally with the team, with both agreeing to share cost overruns up to $20 million.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle the team had to overcome was aesthetics and the utilization of its retail space. One commissioner compared the design to a prison, and local property owners said they worried it would not be inviting to the public on any day but game day. The team then went back to the drawing board and incorporated some requests.
The 20,000-seat stadium should create approximately 1,000 construction and permanent jobs and generate $1 billion of economic benefit for the local area. Turner Construction was already awarded the $150 million contract to build the stadium. Until construction is complete, the team will continue to play at RFK Stadium.