The 5 Strangest Parts of Vincent Orange’s RFK Stadium Plan
Mayoral hopeful Vincent Orange earned some attention last month with his pitch for a sports entertainment complex centering on a rebuilt, 100,000-seat RFK Stadium. But the actual text of the bill, highlighted recently by ANC6B commissioner Brian Flahaven, is even better.
Orange's extraordinarily specific bill tasks the District with studying the feasibility of building a complex around RFK that would include—deep breath here—a commercial strip, a PGA-level golf course, a movie soundstage, a "hotel zone," an indoor waterpark, and a "film and photography center." And he's not the only one on board—the bill has earned the backing of fellow councilmembers Marion Barry, Anita Bonds, Jim Graham, Yvette Alexander, and Orange mayoral rival Jack Evans.
LL has to wonder why they want to spend the money, though, since Orange seems to have the whole thing figured out already. His bill's language details everything from what should be sold at different restaurants to the minimum square footage of various attractions, as thought he thinks that if he doesn't lay down the dimensions of each attraction the District will swap in a sports entertainment complex for ants.
Below, the highlights of the Orangedrome.
Orange's reimagined RFK, with more than double its current seating capacity, would play host to everything from FIFA soccer matches to mixed-martial arts bouts. But that's not all! There'll be a music venue honoring Marvin Gaye, and another for Chuck Brown. The stadium will have "a District-themed sport store specializing in merchandise and apparel featuring national and international sports teams."
The Chain Stores
A shopping area attached to the stadium must include "two nationally recognized department stores," a beer garden, a 24-hour diner, and a spot for food trucks. Orange's mania for "nationally recognized" businesses extends to his nightclub specifications (one), "high-end restaurant," (one) "movie theater and cinema chain," (one) and "family restaurant chains" (two).
"The bill is silent on whether the beer garden must be nationally recognized," Flahaven writes. It does also provide for "at least one" independently owned restaurant.
The Hotel Zone
All these athletes, fans, and shopaholics will rest in Orange's "hotel zone," which he's also helpfully sketched out! Orange wants one five-star hotel with at least 400 rooms, and another five-star "boutique hotel establishment" with at 150 rooms. Add to that a three-star hotel with 500 rooms.
The hotel zone will also come with a 24-hour spa (are you listening, Spa World?), a "health conscience (sic) cafe," a professional athlete-caliber gym, and a tanning salon.
Orange wants the city to redevelop public Langston Golf Course into a PGA championship-level course. But that's not all. Orange wants the redeveloped Langston to include a museum honoring D.C. golf (including "multimedia quizzes" and "interactive kiosks") and new restaurants including one that must come with an "adjoining wine bar." "The District of Columbia is a thriving city with an increasing population," the bill notes. "As a world class city, the District deserves a world class golf course."
It's a testament to the specificity of Orange's bill that provisions for an indoor waterpark, the waterpark's own hotel, and a movie soundstage don't stand out that much. But rest assured—per Orange's legislation, the soundstage will have a ballroom.
Read the whole bill here:
Photos by Darrow Montgomery/Graphic by Will Sommer