Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still No Goal for Poplar Point Stadium

With several District-sponsored projects in Southeast announced in recent months, just what 's been happening with the biggest of them all - the Poplar Point Soccer Complex? Michael Durso, Project Manager at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED), spoke to DC Mud about the status of the long-awaited project. "There is nothing happening right now and no bid has been issued," he said.

Nevertheless, he assured DCMud that the release of any bid for the 27,000 seat, $150 million (before cost overruns) stadium would be preceded by a very public announcement from ODMPED when and if one is issued.

This much, however, is certain: while projects across the river on the Southeast Waterfront continue to pile up, Poplar Point appears to have been left in the proverbial lurch (one only has to look as far the District’s barren Poplar Point website for evidence). Of course, given the less than desirable performance of Nationals Stadium and DC United’s 2008 drop in attendance, it stands to reason that the City isn’t jumping at the chance to fund another stadium that – at best – would only be three-fourths full. Of course, old man economy isn't making it easy for new (and expensive) development these days either.

Nonetheless, ODMPED appears to still be testing the troubled waters that surround the project. After obtaining a Congressional edict that transferred the land to District control, the Deputy Mayor's office has courted developers and participated in community meetings that discussed the stadium’s potential environmental impact. However, the city remains intensely interest in Ward 8 these days, as evidenced by the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths campus - a deal that also boasts the lucrative relocation of a massive amount of federal infrastructure.

Adding another layer of red tape to the matter is the fact that outspoken Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry has said he'll approve no plans for the Point that don't include a stadium. This could very well be a contributing factor to the Council's failure to reschedule a hearing on the stadium following their summer recess. In other words, if the stadium can't move forward, neither can Poplar Point.

While we wait (and wait), all would-be hooligans would do well to check the nifty, HKS-designed renderings for the proposed complex that come to us courtesy of the official website of Major League Soccer.


DG-rad on Nov 5, 2008, 4:26:00 PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hunter on Nov 5, 2008, 4:36:00 PM said...

...which is why the hyperlink to that site is labeled "environmental impact."

Oscar M. on Nov 5, 2008, 9:18:00 PM said...

the attendance numbers are incomplete at best, misleading at worst. Yes, they had a 5% drop in attendance for regular season games. They still are one of the best attended teams in the league.

In addition to MLS regular season games, DC United played in the Champions Cup, Open Cup (not all games were at RFK), SuperLiga and Champions League tournaments which all add more home games to the schedule.

Colin on Nov 5, 2008, 9:33:00 PM said...

Yeah, when looking at attendance keep in mind that 2007 was Beckham's debut year and the game against LA was sold out. This year with less novelty the attendance declined by 10,000 or so.


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