City Paper is not for tourists
A key component of the deal to bring a D.C. United soccer stadium to Buzzard Point involves a major land swap with developer Akridge. The proposal is that Akridge would give D.C. a parcel of land it owns on the future stadium site, and in exchange D.C. would give Akridge the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center—-an outdated District government building on the increasingly valuable corner of 14th and U streets NW—-which would then relocate to Anacostia.
So far, so good. Until you compare the values of the two properties.
According to D.C. property records, the Akridge-owned parcel on Buzzard Point was assessed this year at $8,042,590. The Reeves Center was assessed this year at $108,548,500. There are disagreements about how much the Reeves Center property is really worth. But no matter how you slice it, a parcel spanning a block along D.C.’s hottest corridor is worth quite a bit more than one in an undeveloped section of town. (Plus, the Reeves Center is slightly larger at 97,600 square feet, compared to 89,251 for the Akridge parcel.)
Tony Robinson, spokesman for the Office of the City Administrator, which brokered the deal, says that independent valuations need to occur before any discussion of dollars and cents comes into play. But he confirms that if there’s a difference in valuation, a cash payment might accompany the swap. That could mean big bucks for the swap—-perhaps even more than $100 million going into the city’s coffers if the current assessments hold up.
The value of the Reeves Center site has led some observers to argue that this is a bad deal for the city. And it may be a bad deal for all sorts of other reasons. But if tens of millions of dollars come the city’s way as part of the swap, it suddenly doesn’t look so shabby from a bottom-line standpoint.