Pollin's Legacy Stirs DC Football Stadium Debate
A Redskins return to DC could boost business along the Anacostia
Could Dan Snyder do for a part of the city what Abe Pollin did for downtown Washington?
Pollin’s decision to partner with the District and build his arena downtown was a win-win for both sides. The active nightlife, retail and office space around the Verizon Center is a lasting tribute to Pollin and city leaders who helped bring it about.
Could Snyder, as owner of the Redskins, do something similar – or better – at the site of the old RFK stadium? News4 first reported a couple of years ago that city leaders including Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans are anxious to have the team build a 100,000-seat domed stadium. The city leaders envision an environmentally friendly stadium that would open to the Anacostia River and bring vibrant retail and jobs to the far Capitol Hill area.
This week, Evans declined to comment on any stadium discussions with the Redskins, but he said the tough time the team is having should be a wake-up call. The RFK site “is sacred ground,” Evans said, and the Redskins will never break out of their losing seasons until they return.
On a less spiritual note, Evans, chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee, said a development deal could be struck with the Redskins that would not saddle taxpayers with costly or controversial commitments.
Mayor Adrian Fenty, who was in Dallas for the Cowboy-Redskins game Sunday, said he’d like the team back if a good deal could be worked out. Fenty was a big critic of the stadium deal that brought the Nationals to Washington.
Private talks at various levels have been held between the city and the team, but no firm details have emerged.
The team has 17 years left on its contract to play at FedEx Field. Snyder owns the stadium, but his business people have allegedly told him that the stadium could easily be torn down and converted to homes and other businesses. Whether Snyder could find a way out of his last 17 years is a big hangup at this point. When asked in the past about the city’s overtures, the Redskins organization has only said that it has a contract with Prince Georges and is happy.
Fenty’s office declined to comment on his Dallas trip except to say he paid his own way.