July 5, 2022

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Leaders get the right to buy land in Woodbridge, Virginia for a potential new stadium

Leaders get the right to buy land in Woodbridge, Virginia for a potential new stadium

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Washington leaders recently secured the right to purchase land in Woodbridge, Virginia as a potential site for their new stadium, Senator Scott A.

Earlier, a person familiar with the team’s plans said the leaders had already bought the land. But Soroville, whose area includes the potential site in Prince William, said a member of the Richmond lobby called him on Monday after ESPN broke news of a deal and told him the team had not yet purchased land in Woodbridge, near Potomac Mills. Soruville said the team has an option purchase agreement to buy it.

A person familiar with the team’s residency plans said the deal was an option to buy about 200 acres of land for about $100 million.

If the leaders built a stadium in Woodbridge, it would be about 23 miles from the US Capitol. That would be nearly double the 11-mile distance from the US Capitol to the team’s current stadium, FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, and the third farthest from downtown to an NFL stadium behind San Francisco (42 miles) and New England (28). .

A spokesman for the leaders declined to comment on Monday. Earlier that morning, before word broke, team boss Jason Wright declined to comment on the state of the team’s search for the stadium.

“Everything is top secret,” Wright said in an interview. “The way we’ve always sought to do business with partners — Maryland or Virginia or DC — is to treat this as their project and their economic development strategy and keep everything as calm as possible so that those goals they have the best ability to achieve can be achieved. “

The leaders’ agreement, while an indication that the franchise is serious about Woodbridge, doesn’t mean the move is a done deal. The team’s field search appears to have been narrowed down to five locations – Woodbridge; near Potomac Shores Golf Club in Dumfries, Virginia; a quarry near Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Virginia; RFK Stadium in Washington; And a location near FedEx Field—and a Virginia deal could ultimately be a negotiating tactic.

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Margaret A. Franklin (D), the Prince William County superintendent who represents Woodbridge, said she knew nothing of the agreement. “I do not represent any area under consideration,” she said in a text message.

One of the sites under study is an area known as The Landing at Prince William, a stretch of land near Interstate 95 and Prince William County Parkway, which, in 2019, reorganized the county for eventual redevelopment. But supervisor Kenny A. Bodie (D-Occoquan), who represents that area, said he was not aware of any land deal there.

“I know they are looking down on that ground,” Boddy said, adding that he had not been contacted by the leaders and learned of the team’s actions. In Prince William by news reports. “There hasn’t been an official application with the county or anything like that. It looks like they’re kind of trying to lock up ground in potential locations they’re looking at in the county.”

“No decision has been made regarding a new stadium in Prince William County,” Kristina Wynne, executive director of the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, said in a statement. “As far as we understand, the team is exploring all of their options, including where they currently own the land.”

She continued, “While this news does not mean that the team has officially selected Prince William County, we look forward to partnering with the team to ensure that any development opportunity is appropriate for the community and there is a positive economic and financial benefit to the county.”

In fact, Commanders owner Daniel Snyder already owns a similar amount of land—more than 200 acres—at the FedEx Field site. The organization has discussed similar “small town” plans with Maryland lawmakers, with a state-of-the-art stadium anchoring a large entertainment complex with restaurants, shops and housing. The state has a plan To spend $400 million to develop the area around FedEx Field but not to build the stadium itself.

The team has at times expressed interest in returning to RFK Stadium in Washington, but district leaders have He was unable to introduce legislation To make federally owned land a viable option for several reasons, including financing.

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at The latest Washington Post Survey of mayoral candidates and metropolitan council, only three out of 24 respondents said taxpayers should support construction or development to support the new Leaders Stadium – although one is in favor of providing some funding Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).

“I support the return of the leaders to the capital, and would be willing to prepare the land for their use, but would not pay for the construction or support of the stadium,” Bowser wrote in response to the survey. “Regardless, I’m calling on the federal government to move the land so we can use it to maximize entertainment, retail, and affordable housing.”

Council President Phil Mendelsohn (generally D), who answered “no” about the subsidies, He said he supports the city’s control of RFK land, but will oppose leaders occupying it until the NFL releases a report on the results of its investigation into Snyder’s sexual harassment. He also said that the council’s thirteen members are deeply divided over what to do with the land.

On Monday, news of the choice came as Virginia legislators I got word to go back to Richmond On June 1 to vote on the proposed state budget. That would be their last chance to vote on stadium authority legislation, which, like the budget, has been moved to a special session after the General Assembly failed to finish its work in the regular session that concluded in March. Lawmakers tasked with finding differences between the two competing stadium bills in the House and Senate indicated last week that negotiations were still ongoing.

The potential move has some worried about the impact on society. If leaders eventually build in Woodbridge, the impact on game-day local traffic will be “pretty significant” in a county that used to rely heavily on cars for transportation, said Stuart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. The organization that advocates pedestrian-friendly communities built around mass transit.

As it stands, this part of I-95 is permanently crowded during rush hour, reflecting the fact that Woodbridge has become more densely populated as the population of Prince William continues to grow.

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Schwartz said county officials and state legislators representing the area have lobbied for mass transit extended to the area, even though it could be prohibitively expensive without additional development around those trains.

Last year, the Virginia Department of Railroad and Public Transportation estimated it would cost $27 billion to extend the two yellow or blue metro lines to that part of Prince William.

The Virginia deal did not dampen the hope of Maryland lawmakers that the team would remain in Landover. This spring, Maryland lawmakers approved an investment of $400 million in the area around FedEx Field, money to dismantle the existing stadium and build amenities that could cement the concept of a small town. The money will be spent regardless of whether the leaders move on or not, but Del. Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s), who represents the community near the stadium, said he hopes the $400 million is just the start of the team’s incentive package.

“I want that to be the start of the conversation,” Lewis said. “Of course I’d like them to stay and invest…but if they’re going, that’s fine.”

The Leaders have been playing at FedEx Field since 1997 but have been shopping for a new stadium option for several years. The team is obligated to play in Landover until at least 2027.

The numbers for the team’s stadium search will be a topic of discussion going forward. She led a Monday morning panel of local athletic executives hosted by the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

“Jason, are we ready to say where the stadium’s new location is—” began mediator Greg Walig, managing director of Grant Thornton’s D.C. and Arlington office.

“This is where we’ll start?” Wright said with a laugh before he objected.

Vosella reported from Richmond. Erin Cox contributed to this report.