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Signs of progress on D.C. stadium plans
by Paul Kennedy, December 19th, 2013 4:17AM
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TAGS:  chicago fire, d.c. united, mls, nasl, soccer business


By Paul Kennedy

The proposal for the D.C. United stadium to be built in Washington's Buzzard Point neighborhood could be presented to the District of Columbus city council by Christmas, allowing council members to consider how they want to act on the plans early in 2014.

DCist reported that the project was in its early stages, but there was finally movement. The original deadline to have something for council members to review was Nov. 15.

The deal works this way: D.C. will take ownership of the land on which the stadium will be built from developer Akridge and swap it the land on which the Reeves Center, an aging D.C. municipal complex, is located to Akridge. Akridge would build a high-rise or commercial office space on the Reeves Center land, and the city would build a new municipal complex elsewhere in the city.
The stadium deal calls for D.C. to provide the land -- with an estimated value of $150 million -- and D.C. United to construct the stadium at a cost of another $150 million.

FIRE BUILDING NORTH SIDE FACILITY. The success of teams like the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers have prompted MLS to insist that new soccer stadiums (like the one D.C. United is seeking to build and the ones being considered in Orlando, New York and Miami) be located in urban settings.

That leaves the question of what should teams like Chicago, FC Dallas and Colorado do with their stadiums built in the suburbs or exburbs.

The Fire has no plans of leaving the working-class Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, where it plays at Toyota Park, but it is moving into the city, building a soccer facility with indoor and outdoor fields in Chicago's North Side.

The facility, which will include space for offices, restaurants, retail and training facilities, is expected to open next summer. The Fire's price tag for brand building: $15 million-$20 million.

"We are investing in this site to increase awareness of the organization and create more accessibility for both new and existing soccer fans," said Fire owner Andrew Hauptman told the Chicago Tribune. "In a downtown market that is underserved with fields, this new facility will be Chicago’s premier soccer center."

ROWDIES ADDING MIDFIELDER'S CLUB. Bill Edwards, the new majority owner of the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies, has plans to add premium midfield seating at Al Lang Stadium for the 2014 season.

More than 1,100 seats will be erected along the west sideline, including 212 premium Midfielder's Club seats just a few feet from the touchline. Club members will have access to a pitch-side member's lounge.
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