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“The District will have until January 1, 2014, to: (i) obtain site control of the Stadium Site …; and (ii) obtain the necessary legal approvals from the Council of the District of Columbia and, if required, the United States Congress to proceed with the transaction.”
So reads the term sheet signed by Mayor Vince Gray and D.C. United co-owner Jason Levien in July. Jan. 1 has come and gone, and the city still hasn’t orchestrated the necessary land swaps with the developer Akridge and the other landholders at Buzzard Point to assemble the site needed for the team to build its planned soccer stadium.
What does that mean for the deal? Here’s what the term sheet says: “In the event that the District has not achieved both of these objectives by January 1, 2014, DC United may exit the transaction.”
Now, there’s no indication that the soccer team has any intention of walking away from the deal over a missed deadline. Tony Robinson, spokesman for City Administrator Allen Lew, who hammered out the preliminary deal with D.C. United, says in an email that “negotiations are ongoing.”
But it’s not the first deadline the city’s missed on the stadium deal. D.C. and Akridge were supposed to reach a deal on a swap for the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U streets NW by Nov. 1 and submit it to the Council by Nov. 15. That did not happen. Instead, Lew has been informally presenting an incomplete deal to members of the Council, leaving at least one councilmember, Ward 3’s Mary Cheh, speculating that maybe Lew was giving these status updates because of concerns over the missed deadlines.
Last week, representatives of the Department of General Services informed the Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the area around the Reeves Center that the city had missed its Jan. 1 deadline. Neighbors have become increasingly active in trying to pressure the city into limiting the uses of a new mixed-use building on the Reeves site. The assumption is that Akridge would likely build a high-end residential building, since similar buildings have been sprouting up in the neighborhood and demand remains high. But both Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham and one of his challengers in this April’s primary, Brianne Nadeau, have advocated for an office building instead, in order to increase the daytime population of the nightlife hotspot.
Rendering via the Office of the City Administrator