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Answers to D.C. United Questions

Here is a partial transcript of today's on-line chat about D.C. United's proposed move to Prince George's County. Read the full q-and-a here.

Bethesda, Md.: Do you forsee any way the DC government tries to counter-offer Victor MacFarlane, or is it too late already? I don't understand how the D.C. government would relate the Nationals stadium nightmare with D.C. United. The biggest difference is that D.C. United was committed to contribute a large sum of money to help build the stadium, whereas MLB required D.C. to fund the Nationals stadium. I don't see why D.C. United should suffer because of that. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

David Nakamura: MacFarlane has been negotiating with D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration for two years. MacFarlane bought the team about a month or so before Fenty took office, and they've focused on Poplar Point, a 110-acre tract of federal parkland along the Anacostia River that is being turned over District control. MacFarlane has been frustated by the Fenty Administration's slowness to commit to a stadium financing package, but remember that Fenty as a council member voted against the baseball stadium financing every chance he got. Now, in a national economic crisis, I find it hard for Fenty or any other D.C. pol -- aside from Marion Barry -- to push too hard for a publicly subsidized soccer stadium.

One option could be a new stadium near RFK, but I was told by D.C. sources that the United was not particularly enthused by the idea for various reasons. Still, the team will be playing at RFK at least 2-3 more seasons, so there could still be time.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: How close is this potential deal to becoming a reality and how soon would they start construction after a site is finalized?

David Nakamura: This is the $64,000 question. The news conference Monday will be to announce that the Prince George's statehouse delegation intends to introduce legislation that would allow the team to enter into formal talks with the Maryland Stadium Authority toward building a stadium. We don't know the financing options; MacFarlane, who met against today with the Prince George's delegation, has said he would pay 25 percent of construction costs and propose dedicated stadium-generated tax revenue to also help with the construction costs. How much the county tax payers and state might be expected to pay isn't known.

First things first, though: The legislation would have to be approved by the state legislature in the next 6 weeks. Then the discussions over a financing package would have to negotiated, which could take a while. United and the county would have to settle on a stadium site, the ground would have to go through an environmental remediation process, Metro might have to sign off if its property is involved, then construction would take 2 years.

Which is to say that a stadium is 4-5 years away minimum.

______________________

Fairfax, Va.: So what's the deadline to move into the city in order to vote against Fenty in the next election?

David Nakamura: Ha. Well, if you saw our story last week about Fenty raising $2 million in campaign cash from 2,100 donors in just three months -- 1 1/2 years before the next election -- you might want to get used to the idea of Mayor Fenty for another 6 years. The Fenty machine will be hard to beat with that kind of money.

By David A Nakamura  |  February 13, 2009; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Economic Development , Soccer Stadium  
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Next: D.C. United: We Could Break Ground This Year in Prince George's

Comments

The difference between a publicly financed soccer facility and a publicly financed baseball stadium is night and day.

Baseball is for watching and drinking beer, and the stadium gets locked up and put away when that's not happening.

A high quality public soccer facility can host games for Pro, College, and amateur teams as well as provided needed recreational space for youth programs. It could be a hub for fitness and health programs. It could be a huge magnet if done right. It could be an Olympic class facility. It could make money daily by charging rent to local college teams.

Too bad baseball politics poisoned this debate.

Posted by: mikey999 | February 13, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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