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Could new D.C. United stadium signal Southwest D.C.'s renaissance?

Thursday - 7/25/2013, 12:39pm  ET

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A new stadium at a fair price

WTOP's Neal Augenstein

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Most every world-class city has a world-class waterfront. Could D.C. be next on that list?

Mayor Vincent Gray is floating a proposal that would set the stage for a new D.C. United soccer stadium at Buzzard Point in Southwest D.C. that could potentially bridge the Capitol Street gap between Southeast and Southwest D.C.'s waterfronts and help spark a larger revitalization of both neighborhoods.

Southeast D.C. has already seen a significant amount of new development surrounding Nationals Park, and the idea for a $300 million soccer stadium by Second and T streets SW stands to create a mini sports complex that could bring more vitality to both neighborhoods.

The complicated proposal, which involves the District putting up $150 million to acquire and prep the site for development, faces a tough road through the D.C. council and could resurface old wounds that came up surrounding the development of Nationals Park. At the same time, the new stadium would bring thousands of people to Southwest on game days — D.C. United is averaging about 13,600 people a game so far this season — and that much increased activity could fuel new shops, restaurants and other attractions to the area.

I talked this morning with Monty Hoffman, CEO of PN Hoffman, who said he thinks it's a terrific idea that could fuse the two waterfronts to the benefit of the District.

"I think it's accretive to the Southwest and I think it helps link that area around the ballpark to the Southwest," Hoffman said. "Every world-class city has a developed waterfront, and Washington is catching up with other cities."

Hoffman is hoping to make its own contribution to the District with its 3.2 million-square-foot Wharf project along the Southwest Waterfront near the proposed soccer stadium. Hoffman told me he thinks Buzzard Point would be the ideal area for a new stadium and could also host festivals, concerts and other community gatherings.

© 2013 American City Business Journals, Inc.