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MacFarlane Speaks

D.C. United bossman Victor MacFarlane and Prez Kevin Payne stopped by The Post this afternoon for an on-the-record chat with reporters, editors and a Metro section columnist. The meeting was arranged weeks ago, but in the wake of their letter to the city about the club's plans to look elsewhere in pursuit of a stadium project, the timing could not have been better.

Lots of interesting comments. Lots of frustration with Fenty and the city. You could almost see the steam coming from MacFarlane's ears.

There will be a comprehensive Metro section news story in Friday's print editions (available on washingtonpost.com late tonight), but for now......

WP: Is there still a chance you could end up with a stadium at Poplar Point?

MacFarlane: We still have a developer who has said they want to include a soccer stadium. We have told them what our minimum requirements are and we'll see.

WP: Where else are you looking to build a stadium?

VM: We have engaged with a consultant to find all the sites that are appropriate for a soccer stadium in and outside the District.

WP: How disappointing is it for you to reach this point?

VM: Oh, it's extremely disappointing. I am still hopeful we will be in the District. We will see. I am less optimistic about Poplar Point. I am sure one or two [alternate sites in the District] will show up.

WP: The RFK grounds?

VM: They may be. We don't know yet. We just left the deputy mayor's office [today] talking about, hoping that, there will be alternative sites.

WP: Do you feel like the Fenty administration betrayed you?

VM: It doesn't even matter anymore. I'll just leave it as I am disappointed. ... We spent millions of dollars; we don't have a history of being foolish, but maybe that's what we proved to be this time. ... As the owner of the soccer team, we need to know that the land that they offer us -- if it's not going to be Poplar Point, if there is going to be another alternative site -- that it's a site that we can have. Not maybe we can have after a process. As a business person, it makes no sense. If the city really wants us here, they have to tell us: 'Yes, this site is available to you, let's see if it works.' If there is not a site that is for certain available to us, then we need to find one that is.

jump below for more.....

WP: What did you discuss with city officials today?

VM: We talked about how we would like an alternative site in the District, that we would like a new lease at RFK and one extended beyond this year. They said they are supportive.

WP: Kevin, a few years ago, United talked to the Maryland Stadium Authority about a possible project. Have you gone back to them in the wake of your issues with the District?

KP: We've engaged an agency that is going to explore opportunities elsewhere. I believe the Maryland Stadium Authority is probably going to have some level of interest.

VM: We hope.

WP: Given all the stadium obstacles, do you regret buying the team?

VM: No. I just regret starting the process for Poplar Point. I enjoy the team very much, except for the frustrating part of creating the stadium. It's been a fabulous endeavor. ... The stadium, quite honestly, has been a distraction.

WP: Without a new stadium, this team will continue to lose money, true?

VM: Absolutely. A lot of money.

KP: We're going to get a stadium.

VM: The sooner the better.

WP: Would you consider building far outside the city, like FC Dallas did?

VM: We made our name in urban communities, making a difference in urban communities. ... We're not going in some rural area to do it.

KP: Our name is D.C. United.

WP: Is this back and forth between you and the city part of a ploy to get them to say they made a mistake and they really do want you?

VM: We would love for them to say they want us. At the end of the day, I hope they do want us, if not at Poplar Point, then somewhere. But at some point, they do have to say they want us. ... If you don't want us, just tell me. I won't quibble. We will have a stadium somewhere. Just tell me.

WP: Is it possible you could leave the area all together?

VM: No way.

WP: Some believe the next big stadium in the city will be for the Redskins. Would that impede your project?

VM: I don't see us being in competition at all.

WP: But completely hypothetically, if the RFK site is used for the Redskins, you would need another site.

VM: That makes the assumption that you can't fit both. If there is enough land, we would just have to make a decision that we are okay with building.

WP: Are you worried that the city will knock down RFK before you have a new stadium, forcing you to find a temporary home like FedEx Field?

VM: I have asked that question and I have been assured that is not going to happen. (pause) It could, I guess.

WP: Where did you leave it with the city after your meeting today?

VM: They are willing to work with our consultant and they said they will try to provide some alternate sites.

More details in Friday print editions and on washingtonpost.com......

By Steve Goff  |  October 11, 2007; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Sounds like everyone is waking up from the long slumber...

No more ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 11, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Is this for tomorrow's paper edition?

Posted by: Terp | October 11, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

What? No podcast?

Posted by: Looking Dangerous | October 11, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Was Marc Fisher present?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Was Marc Fisher present?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2007 04:46 PM


More importantly, was Marc Fischer toting a victory cigar?

Posted by: James | October 11, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Was Marc Fisher present?

*******

No, Marc Fisher wasn't present--we all know that DC United struggles to draw a crowd.

Posted by: Mr. Krys | October 11, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Did you sleep through the interview?

Posted by: Arrrlington | October 11, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Marc Fisher is too busy defending the zone system for cab fares to notice.

More importantly, I wonder what the new bids will look like for Poplar Point, and what the Fenty administration will say to justify choosing a new bid over the D.C. United bid.

Posted by: SSMD | October 11, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what the new bids will look like for Poplar Point, and what the Fenty administration will say to justify choosing a new bid over the D.C. United bid.
_________________________________________

If there is no DCU bid, what's to justify?

Posted by: Section 410 | October 11, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Sec. 410 - if the new winning bid looks less attractive than United's original bid (financially or otherwise), then Fenty will have some explaining to do. This may not happen, of course. The winning bid may have some key component that Fenty can use to justify rejecting United's original bid.

Posted by: SSMD | October 11, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

SSMD nailed it. But the flip-side, is "whether" the winning bid may have some key component. MacFarlane has an ownership interest in or controls a LARGE number of projects in DC - many of which are with the same developers who Fenty is looking to submit a competing bid to what DCU has on the table.

All of these bids are also being submitted at the same time that the Southwest Waterfront proposal is still mucking around and the baseball stadium and the Navy Yard is taking shape. There are a finite number of developers who are capable of proposing and delivering master planned large scale redevelopment projects... not sure many of them want to mess with MacFarlane, mess with Marion Barry and community opposition to a non-stadium proposal, compete with Southwest Waterfront, Navy Yard, et al. for attention and for tenants and deal with a mayor who has now demonstrated that he can't really be trusted without a written agreement.

This is some real gamesmanship going on here...

Posted by: Mickey | October 11, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

This is all getting even more interesting. I know I'm not the only one who can imagine all of this being an R Kelly video...right?

Posted by: sitruc | October 11, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Just don't pee on anyone.

Posted by: Eric | October 11, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Boycott Fleet Feet!

Posted by: dcu_fan | October 11, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Goff next on WaPoLive after the commercial break. Thanks for continuing the updates.

Posted by: sitruc | October 11, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

seriously, i think an organized boycott of fleet feet may be a low blow but i won't shop there again. hit the fenty family where it hurts!

Posted by: dcu_fan | October 11, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I just want to let all fans know that I will do everything in my power to make sure DCU has to move out of the city. That'll show them to put restrictions to me.

Posted by: Mayor Fenty | October 11, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Go here to (politely) ask the Mayor to make this deal happen (especially DC residents):
http://app.dc.gov/apps/about.asp?page=atd&type=dsf&agency_id=1075

I hope boycotting Fleet Feet" is a joke because the mayor's parents have nothing to do with this.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Go here to (politely) ask the Mayor to make this deal happen (especially DC residents):
http://app.dc.gov/apps/about.asp?page=atd&type=dsf&agency_id=1075

I hope boycotting Fleet Feet" is a joke because the mayor's parents have nothing to do with this.

Posted by: | October 11, 2007 05:49 PM

already did long ago and all i got was a stock "thanks for your email, the mayor appreciates your comment." 2-1 odds say he doesn't even read 'em.

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | October 11, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

How ironic is it that on their website it mentions that Fleet Feet specializes in (amongst other things) "soccer gear", yet their son hates soccer...

Posted by: United Supporter | October 11, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Try emailing fleet feet and asking them why mayor fenty hates soccer.

Posted by: I Pooped My Pants | October 11, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Re: Emailing Fenty

"all i got was a stock 'thanks for your email, the mayor appreciates your comment.'"

What did you think was going to happen? Fenty was going to call you up and thank you personally?

Believe me, Fenty's people look at those comments. They stay very attuned to the political winds and often the squeakiest wheels gets greased. If you are a DC resident you have to contact the mayor! (they really only pay attention to constituents. that's just how it works. sorry.)

Posted by: KR in DC | October 11, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I really hope the Post calls this out as the scandal that it is and not just a stadium deal gone bad. Fenty should lose his job over this and the hospital.

Goff, which writer at the Post could do an in depth look into the potential corruption involved in this deal? Especially if a certain VA developer and Fenty financial donor gets the land to build luxury condos?

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 11, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles need to come out with some nice banners and shirts with choice words for Fenty this weekend.

Posted by: Sat. Game | October 11, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

All of you clowns are suckers. DC is and has always been a baseball town. Go Nats!!!! Enjoy your dump of a stadium.

Posted by: Mayor Fenty | October 11, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"Fenty should lose his job over this and the hospital."

Look, I want Poplar Point to happen as much as anyone, but there is no indication of any corruption here. I disagree with how Fenty has handled this, too, but believe it or not, a new soccer stadium is not the most pressing matter to most DC residents.

Nor should it be.

Posted by: KR in DC | October 11, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Much as I want the Stadium at Poplar Point, I don't think I can say I have enough info to be sure that Fenty isn't doing the right thing for the district. The discussion about the new Redskins stadium is interesting because that's the real prize for the district, and some of this may be subtle posturing by the Mayor to let Snyder know DC won't be pushed around.

United ownership needs to (and no doubt is) considering that there are two sides to this coin. RFK and Poplar Point both are easily accessible by road from a large portion of the suburbs, and there is metro access which is used by a lot of fans. How many season ticket holders will United lose if it goes to a suburb? A lot, I'm guessing, and while the base might rebuild over time, can United afford it?

For years I've been looking forward to a new stadium and now all of a sudden I'm worried that my team might move the other side of the beltway. That sucks.

Posted by: regular fan | October 11, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Why is MacFarlane so surprised at how DC has acted toward his proposal? Didn't he SEE how many teeth had to be pulled just to get the doggone baseball stadium built?!?!?

And even IF Fenty did an about-face and said yes to DCU's proposal for Poplar Point, that's no guarantee that some OTHER councilcritter (read: a Linda Cropp clone) would come up with something else to gum up the deal.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 11, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. MacFarlane,

Welcome to the District of Corruption. Don't let the gigantic potholes swallow you up on your way out.

-Hoost

P.S. When I relieve myself, I will now call it "taking a Fenty."

Posted by: Hoost | October 11, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Fenty should lose his job over this and the hospital."

Look, I want Poplar Point to happen as much as anyone, but there is no indication of any corruption here. I disagree with how Fenty has handled this, too, but believe it or not, a new soccer stadium is not the most pressing matter to most DC residents.

Nor should it be.

Posted by: KR in DC | October 11, 2007 06:50 PM


No, but when you come into RFK (right before a mayoral election) and tell those in attendance that you're going to do everything you can to make sure DCU gets a stadium, then you better be ready for some blowback when you don't follow through on that promise.

Posted by: Marion Barry | October 11, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"Fenty should lose his job over this and the hospital."

Look, I want Poplar Point to happen as much as anyone, but there is no indication of any corruption here. I disagree with how Fenty has handled this, too, but believe it or not, a new soccer stadium is not the most pressing matter to most DC residents.

Nor should it be.

Posted by: KR in DC | October 11, 2007 06:50 PM

Why does it matter if its pressing or not? It's privately funded. Even if its not pressing (although it does include low income housing) how long did it take for Mac Farlane to get Poplar Point turned over to DC? How long did it take to convince Williams and the DC Council (twice)? And in one move Fenty destroys years of work that he promised to follow through on.

I also don't believe it is just a coincidence that his top donors are also the ones who are planning to put down proposals for Poplar Point.

Keep in mind by using another developer, who is now under no obligation to build low income housing, he is also breaking his promise to the community and residents of Anacostia who now stand to be excluded from the entire deal.

It really sucks that someone who actually cares about the city as much as Mac Farlane and DC United is being put through all of this, while the Nats who have done nothing for DC get everything they ask for and we even pay the bill.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 11, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Man is this frustrating. I think 1 of 2 things are happening here:

1. This could all be a bit of a ploy by MacFarlane to show that he is very serious about the possibility of locating the team outside of the District. They send a letter to the Mayor, and then on the same day, they make a point of saying that they came straight from the Deputy Mayor's office to the WP building. They are certainly stirring up publicity. If that's the case, then VM must believe that we still have a chance at Poplar Point.

2. Or VM really is giving up because he feels now that their proposal will not be accepted. I think its telling that the RFEI deadline was extended from October 19 to November 2. Clearly they are hoping to receive more bids because they are not happy with the bids that they have received so far.

But the most important thing that VM said here was that he is still committed to DC United remaining in an urban community. That means no Dulles/Ashburn United. If the team gets a nice piece of land in PG Co. or Arlington, I'll still be pretty happy.

Posted by: Shatz | October 11, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse

"...when you come into RFK (right before a mayoral election) and tell those in attendance that you're going to do everything you can to make sure DCU gets a stadium, then you better be ready for some blowback..."

I completely agree! He should hear from us loud and clear. I think he's handled this very poorly so far.

My point was just that saying things like he "should lose his job" over this is a bit over the line. DC residents, for the most part, are not judging him based on how he handles this particular issue.

Posted by: KR in DC | October 11, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

P.S. When I relieve myself, I will now call it "taking a Fenty."

HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!! I love it. This needs to be spread around.

Posted by: CONCHITA CHITA BONITA | October 11, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

It really sucks that someone who actually cares about the city as much as Mac Farlane and DC United is being put through all of this, while the Nats who have done nothing for DC get everything they ask for and we even pay the bill.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 11, 2007 07:53 PM
--------------
Which is where nice guys finish. My guess is that MacFarlane, when faced with losing, isn't a nice guy. And I think that by announcing that he will not be submitting a response to the RFEI, he's presenting Fenty with a situation that created the extension of the submission date.

Someone much more astute than I said, on BigSoccer, that by doing so MacFarlane removed the proposal that everyone could use as the marker to lowball. He suggested that by doing so the District lost its leverage to push down the cost of Poplar Point development.

There are times where it is absolutely delightful to watch the District stew in its own joices. It's just too bad that once more the poorer sections of the city continue, potentially, to come out on the losing end.

Note that even in United's letter declining to submit that they are clear about the conditions they would expect of a winning developer...conditions that benefit Ward 8.

As I suggested, I don't think MacFarlane takes well to losing.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 11, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't he SEE how many teeth had to be pulled just to get the doggone baseball stadium built?!?!?"

You mean MLB fleecing my city and taking the city for all it was worth? Please.

The baseball and soccer stadiums are two different animals. And ultimately, I dont think Fenty has it out for DCU as some are suggesting. Going after Fleet Feet for this would be f'ing ridiculous.

This is politics - very little is personal. Ultimately, its not about DCU and soccer, as much as we would like to be. This is about urban development. Fenty most likely weighed the options of a direct land deal with DCU vs. "opening up the process" and decided that it was a better political move to open up the process. You can blame him if you want, but DCU should have never gotten into the ring to build a stadium if they werent/arent willing to play the game.

Posted by: the cheat | October 11, 2007 8:37 PM | Report abuse

KR in DC,

My biggest objection to Fenty is the SE hospital, the stadium just confirms his inability to follow through with promises and how he tends to cave to special interests.

Posted by: southeasterner | October 11, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Incredible how out of touch the district is with United's popularity and potential. This is where not having soccer exposure to the older generations is still killing us...

Posted by: Nick | October 11, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: emanon | October 11, 2007 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's mayoral campaign promise rings in my ears.

I am not, nor ever will be a resident of the district.

So, I took advantage of the online addresses available and wrote VERY polite notes on the hooks presented to us through other channels. not one representative chose to respond to me, even in a form letter.

Surprise to me, given "james i am an anti-semite and don't appreciate recognizing it moran's" lack of response to said same polite querying.

It truly isn't the district, it's the expectation of the district, i think.

Neither here not there, I AM PROUD OF HOW DC UNITED OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT and STAFF have handled this utter crap. It reinforces my support of the organization, regardless of its location, as being a class outfit in ALL respects.

Fenty, Fisher and all the other f***ers can just try to sell me land in Florida in 1928, or junping off the Brooklyn Bridge another day.

DC United is MY team. Irrespective of where it WILL play.

Shame upon their house will linger.

Posted by: chris | October 11, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I like how MacFarlane hired the Staubach real esate group to help find a new location. In your face Heath Schuler!

Posted by: Beans | October 11, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Staubach has had massive success in his post-playing career in the Real Estate business.

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