ANC 6D met earlier this month to vote on whether to support the D.C. United stadium PUD project at 2nd and R streets in Buzzard Point. The venue is planned as a 19,100-seat soccer stadium that can also be used for other events, including concerts and other sporting events. During the ANC meeting, Victor Melara, Director of Community Relations for D.C. United described some additional community benefits the team has agreed to, including $50,000 for an air purifier system at the construction site; a health fair for Buzzard Point residents; and monthly community meetings to be held at King-Greenleaf Recreation Center. John Knight from architectural firm Populous reviewed the design of the stadium and a representative from Gorove/Slade did a transportation review.
The ANC voted unanimously to withhold support for the project until a variety of items have been addressed by the team. One of the major outstanding issues yet to be resolved is transportation. There are few roads in and out of the Buzzard Point peninsula, so game-day at the stadium could cause traffic gridlock. Although there are no parking spaces on-site at the stadium, the team identified more than 7,000 off-street parking spaces that could be used during games – about 3,700 spaces have already been secured. Projected demand ranges from 2,700 to 3,900 spaces. Many of these spaces are also used by the Nationals, but the two teams have agreed to coordinate their schedules so none of their games occur concurrently. Also, the nearest Metro stations are more than a half mile away, so pedestrians will need to cross South Capitol Street in order to access the stadium from the Navy Yard Metro. Construction on the new Frederick Douglass Bridge and traffic oval will not be complete before the stadium opens, so this may pose a hazard for pedestrians. While Waterfront Metro is a secondary access point for the stadium, using this option would drive pedestrian traffic through residential neighborhoods.
Environmental issues also remain a major concern for the ANC. The stadium site is contaminated and a voluntary environmental clean-up is necessary to prepare it for development. However, the ANC wants to make sure best practices are in place for the clean-up, preventative remediation measures provided to the community (such as air purifiers, dust mats, and vacuums) and the health of nearby residents is monitored. One audience member who lives near the stadium site complained of a burning sensation in his throat, likely due to work being done in the area.
Meanwhile, a campaign effort by a group of developers to force D.C. United to improve the stadium design ahead of November’s Zoning Commission hearing has resulted in additional changes to the project. Fliers have been circulated around the community documenting some of the issues the developers have with the stadium design, which include the lack of retail along the perimeter (except for a team store on R Street), no on-site parking, minimal vehicular access on 1st Street, and noise (the preliminary design included covered seating around the stadium, but the current one has it only on the east and west sides). Since the ANC meeting, the team has come to an “agreeable solution” with the neighboring developers, but needs more time to revise architectural drawings. The Zoning Commission was scheduled to meet on November 2 to discuss the stadium PUD, but the hearing has been postponed to November 28 in order for the team to further revise its application. This will give the ANC the opportunity to review the revised application and perhaps change their stance on the stadium project.
Renderings courtesy of D.C. United