DC United’s future in the nation’s capitol was assured today when the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously voted to approve a spending package for a new stadium for the club.
United has been hunting for a stadium of its own for over a decade, with the current ownership group making a new home a priority after taking control of the club in 2012.
Owners Will Chang, Erick Thohir, and Jason Levien began negotiations with outgoing Mayor Vincent Gray, and have delivered on their promise despite a mayoral change that sees Muriel Bowser taking charge in the new year.
The soccer specific stadium is to be built in the Buzzard Point neighborhood in the southwest section of the city, already home to MLB’s Washington Nationals, and is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.
A seating capacity of 20,000 is expected, although Levien has said that he would like the opportunity to expand down the road.
One of Major League Soccer’s founding clubs, United won the first two MLS Cup Finals in 1996 and 1997, also the claiming championship in 1999 and 2004.
Frustration at finding a suitable situation in D.C. had led the club to flirt with Baltimore and Virginia in years past, today’s agreement ends all that.
This deal should also provide United with a solid financial base. As the prime tenants of the new stadium, United will have access to income from various sources, including naming rights, corporate boxes, concessions, parking, etc.
The 2014 Eastern Conference champions will continue to play at crumbling RFK Stadium until the new stadium is ready.