DC United Stadium Decision Pushed to December

by Nena Perry-Brown

A rendering of the public park planned for the stadium.

Last night, the Zoning Commission considered the proposal and design of the planned unit development for a new DC United soccer stadium in Buzzard Point, a plan that the city’s agencies and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development are seeking a quick approval for; however, all that came out of the four-hour hearing was a decision to reconvene next month.

While the commissioners agreed with the representatives from the Office of Planning (OP), District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and District Department of the Environment (DDOE) that the design had improved significantly since its last iteration, a number of questions and concerns remain.

Designed by Populous, the stadium will be located on a nine-acre plot bounded by R Street and Potomac Avenue SE to the north, T Street SE to the south, and 2nd Street SE to the west (map). At 410,000 square feet and 19,400 seats, the new stadium would be the smallest in Major League Soccer; the limitations of the site also mean that there would be no room for expansion, although there is standing room for an additional 600 patrons.

While the adjacent Parcel B is envisioned as open green space (possibly a community soccer field), there is also a plan for mixed-use at that site; an RFP is currently open to seek development partners and ideally the site will be developed as soon as possible after the stadium, although no timeline is in place.

Concerns abounded that the new stadium intends to essentially replicate or share the transit options around Nationals Stadium, meaning that the developer anticipates that most United game attendees will walk the half-mile from Navy Yard Metro station and/or utilize the same parking lots provided at Nationals Stadium.

An aerial rendering of the stadium.

When the commissioners expressed concern over accessibility for the elderly and less able-bodied, the developers stated that the idea of a shuttle connecting the stadium to the Metro had been explored and ruled out, although there may be game-day provisions for those who couldn’t be expected to make that trek. The ideal scenario for developers and DDOT would be if the 74 bus or a Circulator were to be extended to the site, as well as eventually the streetcar.

Although the development team expressed a willingness to refrain from scheduling games or other events at the new stadium on Nationals’ home-game days, some commissioners would prefer there be a contingency plan in place for the possibility of simultaneous games.

Concerns were also raised over whether placement of bike racks and corrals would be intuitive and convenient for those who commute to games by bicycle, as well as the placement and abundance of bikeshare stations. This and a number of other transportation-related considerations are still in the conceptual phase, with the development team and DDOT noting that a full transportation and operations parking plan likely won’t be prepared until 3-6 months prior to the stadium opening, judging by the timeline for the same with the Nationals Park.

A few commissioners are also skeptical on the timelessness of the design, with Commissioner Michael Turnbull questioning whether the abundance of signage and graphics are substituting for architectural interest; the Office of Planning has also expressed a desire to examine a more detailed representation of the signage. The development team also stated that they would refrain from adding external display boards without first returning to zoning to modify the PUD application.

On the other side of the table sat community members and ANC 6D representatives, who submitted a letter of opposition. ANC 6D Chairperson Andy Litsky was pointed and passionate in his cross-examination of the developers and city agency representatives and will lead the continuation meeting on December 14th with his testimony.

See other articles related to: zoning commission, dc united stadium, dc united, buzzard point

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zc_postpones_dc_united_stadium_decision/11924

1 Comment

  1. DCknitting said at 6:44 pm on Tuesday November 29, 2016:

    Let’s not set this up to fail. I see a small, cheap design that is landlocked and no transportation support behind it. How about that Street Car? I love what it did for H Street.

Comments are closed.

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