Loose Lips

Poll: 49 Percent Support D.C. United Stadium Plan

How many people actually want to spend $150 million of city money on land and infrastructure for a D.C. United stadium at Buzzard Point? It's a question that's been surprisingly hard to figure out; a January Washington Post poll, which showed around 60 percent opposed to the plan, was criticized for its wording here and elsewhere.

With the team on a fan lobbying blitz and the project blowing through deadlines, a new automated poll conducted by Public Policy Polling suggests that support for the financing plan may be more widespread than the earlier poll suggested.

In the new poll, funded by the D.C. Working Families coalition that launched last year, 49 percent of the 539 likely Democratic primary voters polled supported the city obtaining land for the stadium. Forty-two percent opposed it, and 10 percent weren't sure.

Here's the wording of the automated poll conducted on Feb. 4 and 5:

Now I would like your opinion on some current issues. There is a proposal to use up to $150 million in city funds to buy land where a new stadium can be built for the District’s Major League Soccer team, D.C. United. The city  would maintain ownership of the property and rent it to the team for $1 per year, while the soccer team would pay to construct the actual stadium. Do you support or oppose this proposal?

Twenty-three percent of the respondents strongly supported the plan, while 26 somewhat supported it. Those who "somewhat" opposed the proposal and "strongly" opposed it were evenly split at 21 percent. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent. (Check the bottom of LL's post for demographic breakdowns on the stadium.)

Among the mayoral hopefuls, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser has said she opposes trading the Reeves Center at 14th and U streets NW for some of the stadium land, while Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells has said any deal needs to include affordable housing.

D.C. Working Families director Delvone Michael says his group's poll makes clear which direction primary voters are leaning on the stadium. “I think [mayoral candidates] should take away that it’s certainly something that they should support and get behind," Michael says.

As for when councilmembers will actually see the proposed deal, city administrator Allen Lew said last week that the negotiators are "inching towards" obtaining the parcels of land needed.

Below, demographic breakdowns on stadium support.

By age:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.52.50 PM

 Race:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.52.40 PM

Politics:

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.52.25 PM

Sex:
Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 6.52.13 PMRendering courtesy of the Office of the City Administrator

  • Tom M

    robo poll raises merhodofy.issues. also limited.to likely demo primary.voters? hkw was.that defined. please.do .ot waste this taxpayer's money subsidizing.a.billionaire sports.club owner.

  • Tbonebullets

    Wait -- we have a soccer team? Tax millions...what?

  • RealityCheck

    There won't be a better stadium development deal ever. DC would be stupid not to make this work. DC owns the land and gets it back at the end of the lease. The team builds the stadium. DC may actually then get the development they hope'd have happened with the Nats stadium debacle. Otherwise, the area will just remain in blight. Win win.

  • Taylor

    Hooray! A poll more honest to the question at hand!

    DC needs this stadium, and it is a good deal for the city as well as the team. The city will benefit from this for years to come, in the development of a new part of town, and getting a money-loser off their books in the old Reeves center. They can't keep paying enormous sums to prop that place up.

    This will work for everyone.

  • DC United takes the risk

    Why not pledge to give DC United 150 Million dollars and see if DC United can build the Stadium themselves?
    The DC Government needs to let DC United take the risk on this. Why not give them a check for 150 million and let DC United buy the land, pay for the infrastructure costs and build the stadium??
    DC United and stadium backers would not agree with that approach, because it would leave DC United on the hook for cost overruns, higher land acquisition and infrastructure costs.
    DC taxpayers found out the hard way that the estimated of the cost to the taxpayers of the baseball stadium went from the initial 300 Million dollars (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/06/AR2006020601396.html) to 760 million dollars when the thing was finally built. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/graphic/2008/03/24/GR2008032400073.html/).
    The DC City Council tried unsuccessfully to cap the amount that taxpayers would spend at 300 million dollars.
    This open-ended commitment that the City has agreed with DC United will be well above 150 million dollars and in the long-run will detour spending on priorities like affordable housing.
    Selling the Reeves Center, building a new DC Government office building in Ward 8 and putting affordable housing on the current site of the Reeves Center is a project DC can do all by itself, without DC United.

  • Son of Washington

    Reality Check

    Maybe you should stop checking so called reality. First off the project comes with a Project Labor Agreement which means that you must use Unionize Labor. Considering that less that 25% of the local workforce is unionize that would mean that all of the work would be done by outside folks. This means that First Source is out of the window.

    Secondly Project Labor Agreements cost more on average. Look at how it increased the cost on the Nationals Stadium.

    Next this project would displace CBE firms who would be forced out of the city. Funny enough the city would then try to get mad that the types of companies displaced wouldn't be working on the project. Again look at the Nationals Stadium.

    In addition the city would lose access to 14th & U. We would be taking away a major work hub during the day and replacing it with Condos. As Vincent Orange keeps on saying, we get all day revenue from the folks who work in the Reeves Center as well as those who visit. This includes parking. By replacing it with condos, we will only get taxes as those folks won't be in the area driving all day business.

    This deal doesn't work for us. Hell they talk of affordable housing. The folks who would qualify for affordable housing on 14th & U wouldn't live there.

  • Enos

    Shocking that a polling question based in fact was actually used. Hey! Washington Post! Take some notes...

  • PowerBoater69

    Rigged polls are newsworthy? Working Families is controlled by unions and the United has promised stadium construction jobs will be controlled by the unions. Anyone with any polling expertise can tweak a robo call text to get the results they want, and in this case they ignored the third of the city's voters who are Republicans.

    The United's owner lives in Indonesia, he is pouring money into the campaign to get the city to gift him land and infrastructure improvements so that he can take millions of dollars out of DC and out of the country. Why would some foreign owner have any interest in the District other than as a source of personal profit?

    Don't believe the $150 million cap for a second, remember when the Nats ballpark was going to only cost $450 million before it shot up to $700 million. The $150 is the estimate for the land, it does not include environmental clean-up or infrastructure improvements. All this for a soccer team with 17 home games a year and terrible attendance numbers. Sure there will be concerts, but those will come at the expense of the Verizon Center and other local venues, a net zero gain for the city.

  • PowerBoater69

    "There won't be a better stadium development deal ever" ---Except for Fed Ex Field and Verizon Center, those were better.

    "DC owns the land and gets it back at the end of the lease." --- After spending $200 million to buy the land and fix it up the city gets $1 a year in rent and ends up with an obsolete stadium in 2046? Wow!

  • alpinepaq

    Win-win deal with favorable conditions for both parties. The major caveat is that the Reeves parcel should remain office/commercial space in order that the neighborhood continue to have some base of daytime traffic for businesses.

  • Stadium

    One stadium, comin' up!

  • Tbonebullets

    Why can't they just use Memorial Stadium? Fix it up or whatever. Great location, it's already there, what's the problem??

  • PowerBoater69

    From @OConnellPostbiz via Twitter:
    "Should be noted new #DCU poll funded by unions that are looking forward to building the stadium."

  • DCLee

    The deal has the city capped at 150 million unlike the nationals deal. The team has to finance any additional costs.

    It is a good deal and will really help Buzzards Point become a prime destination. I look forward to visiting the area and attending United games at the stadium!

  • drez

    That the deal is this complex should give everyone pause.
    Just put Reeves on the open market.

  • Adam

    The stadium will revitalize the area between Buzzard Point and Nats stadium. Without it, it stays nothing more than a what it is now, a parking lot and wasted waterfront.

  • David C

    The reason Buzzards Point has remained undeveloped is because PEPCO owns most of the land and has been unwilling to sell it until recently. And then they were only dealing with DC for a stadium. If DC bought the land, remediated it and offered it up at $1 a year rent, I bet we would find many developers willing to develop it and get a lot more out of it than just a soccer stadium. The idea that this is the best deal we can get for that kind of money is ridiculous. Or that Buzzards Point needs this deal to develop.

  • JC

    " "DC owns the land andgets it back at the end of the lease." --- After spending $200million to buy the land and fix it up the city gets $1 a year in rent and ends up with anobsolete stadium in 2046? Wow!"

    The point is that the $150 million the city is committing is in land that the city will own. Ergo, it is not a cost any more than the principal portion of a mortgage payment is a cost. It is capital you can't immediately use. If the development around the stadium happens as planned, the land will appreciate in value.

    This is far better than any other stadium deal and allows the valuable rfk stadium land (massively oversized for united) to be redeveloped as well.

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  • Ward1United

    I am looking forward to a new stadium. RFK is a joke and while I will be attending the home opener on Saturday, I will never buy season tickets until they get a stadium that actual has amenities besides drafty corridors and horrible food.

  • drez

    Great. Than maybe you'll instead spend your money on something that taxpayers didn't pay for and would generate income?

  • Sgc

    "Great. Than maybe you'll instead spend your money on something that taxpayers didn't pay for and would generate income?"

    Ha, guess he'll have to go someplace with no roads or sewers or power then. Tinkerbell called, says they have a spot in Never-Never Land for you.

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