[MLS SPOTLIGHT] MLS’s move to build football-specific stadiums is not without its dangers. The stadium projects face major obstacles as fans and MLS clubs encounter the realities of local politics. In Washington, DC, a Washington Post poll found that six in ten residents oppose the city’s plan to fund a new stadium for DC United.
Most notably, the Post reported that those who were strongly against mayors Vincent C. GrayThe deal more than double (39-15) those who strongly support it.
(Click here to view poll results. Football and baseball questions are numbers 22-24.)
The initiative involves a complicated land swap as the city funds the purchase of land owned by Akridge, a local developer, in the Buzzard Point section of southwest Washington with the sale of a municipal office building, the Frank D. Reeves Center, to Akridge.
One of the main problems: what to do on the Frank D. Reeves Center premises? Residential houses – luxury apartments – would be the most profitable use of the property, while local residents want more commercial development to attract day-to-day business.
The terms of the agreement with DC United remain a problem with the nuts and bolts. City Administrator Allen Y. Lew The Post said it was distracting itself from an originally discussed revenue-sharing plan in which the city would receive a portion of the revenue in exchange for a reduction in sales and property taxes.
The reality for DC United is that soccer is less popular in Washington than baseball, which got a new stadium, Nationals Park, in 2008, even though the stadium is only half a mile from the MLB Nationals ballpark.
According to the survey, with a margin of 72-22, respondents said the DC-funded ballpark was generally a good investment in city funds. 59-35 oppose the use of DC funds for the football stadium.
(Click here for an analysis of the Washington Post’s Soccer Insider poll. Steven Goff.)