Prince George's Woos D.C. United
Prince George's County has not been coy in its interest in wooing D.C. United if the team does not come to terms with District leaders for a new stadium. Now, some county officials say their aggressive courting may have been what sparked a coalition of D.C. Council members to begin developing legislation for a public financing package for the proposed stadium at Poplar Point.
According to an account provided by Washington Post reporter Rosalind S. Helderman, development firm Petrie Ross featured a model of a soccer stadium as part of their presentation for a town center at the Greenbelt Metro stop in Prince George's at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas three weeks ago.
That annual conference is the mecca for retailers and city and county officials interested in wooing them. D.C.'s delegation included Mayor Adrian Fenty, Council Chairman Vincent Gray and council members Jack Evans, Marion Barry and Kwame Brown. Also there was United Victor B. MacFarlane, a major financier from San Francisco who hosted a party, and officials from Prince George's.
Prince George's Deputy Chief Administrative Officer David Byrd told Helderman that District officials saw Petrie's model and it spurred them to move forward with efforts to keep the team in D.C.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that this happened right after they got back from ISCS," he said. "It's a fact that they saw it."
Byrd said Prince George's officials continue to stress "what a good product" the county could offer.
"We always knew [the District] was their preferred location," he said. "But we still feel good about where we are."
Petrie Ross is developing a mixed use retail, office and residential center on 78 acres at the Greenbelt metro station. Pam Rau, a spokeswoman for Petrie Ross, referred all questions about the possibility of a soccer stadium at the development to D.C. United.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Stadium Authority is conducting a feasibility study weighing the economic benefits of a soccer stadium for the team in Prince George's. Project executive Gary A. McGuigan said consultants are working numbers now and anticipate reporting back in late June or early July.
D.C. officials scoffed privately at the suggestion that the Petrie Ross presentation had motivated them to begin talking about stadium financing again. They said Prince George's County will have an even more difficult time finding public money -- and support -- for the project than the District is having.
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