Just as it seemed as if D.C. United's season was beyond salvage, a rather significant ray of hope has broken through: the team and the District of Colombia have reached a tentative deal to build a stadium at Buzzard Point. The plan that the team's owners and the mayor's office have reached calls for a $300 million project that would be a public-private partnership and result in a stadium that would fit at least 20,000 people.
Before we start planning our trips to see a game along the DC waterfront, it's worth pointing out that there are some rather large obstacles to overcome before this moves along.
As the Washington Post story linked above points out, the devil is very much in the details. The biggest is that "plan hinges on a series of proposed land swaps and development projects across the city that could lead to political and logistical land mines."
DC would essentially be expected to spend about $150 million on acquiring the land and making it suitable to build on. The team would then spend another $150 million on the actual construction.
Even though this is nowhere near the scale of the $600 million stadium that taxpayers built for the Washington Nationals, there is going to be some stiff resistance to this deal. No matter how you slice it, $150 million of public money is a significant chunk of change even if the expectation is that the project would be a boost to the tax base.
Putting our skepticism aside, this would be a pretty massive step forward for both United and the league. If the stadium ends up getting built and looking anywhere near as nice as the renderings make it seem, it would leave the New England Revolution as the only MLS team playing in a facility that was not designed for soccer.