CM and Mayoral Candidate Muriel Bowser Opposes Trading the Reeves Center for a DC United Soccer Stadium in SW


Update on the proposed soccer stadium/Reeves Center swap, thanks to all who sent links, the Washington Post reports:

“Bowser, who chairs the council’s economic development committee, said she would rather see the city’s capital dollars go to improving the city’s middle schools.

Under Gray’s plan, the city would put up about half the cost of the $300 million project through tax incentives and land swaps, including one in which D.C. would trade the Reeves Center, on U Street, to developer Akridge for a piece of Buzzard Point.”

45 Comment

  • The more I hear about my councilmember the less I like her. I’m not a one-issue voter but unless she has some other really awesome thing that I don’t yet know about, this pretty much seals that she won’t be getting my vote.

  • And I oppose Muriel Bowser. I don’t know how she’s related, but I don’t want members of the Koopa aristocracy running my city.

  • This is the first time I’ve seen a reason to vote for her! Up until now she’s seemed so non-committal on everything. Or did she just suggest the different priority without actually taking a firm stance? That would have been what I expected. I like this if she actually clearly stood against or for something.

  • I’m not sure what “city capital dollars ” and middle schools have to do with this. The City would have to sell the Reeves center to see any money…which would probably be 7- ten years away. I’m all for spending money on our schools…but two things. 1) We already spend the most per student in the US. 2) We have a surplus currently and she isn’t advocating any of that going to schools.

    Know that I’m for a soccer stadium in DC and very against a football stadium in DC (or at least the RFK site – move it to the outer edges and we can talk)…but I understand the land swap is probably a bad idea from a long view…but there really isn’t any other options other than wait another five years. I think with the right amount of cash coming back from the land swap the deal is the best we’re ever going to get. This is a much much better deal than the nats (not sure where she was on that)…the Nats deal was horrible..and I’m still for that. It improved our city…at great cost, but still an improvement.

    This is her simply grandstanding to her supporters that could care less about soccer.

    • This. With highest per student spending already it is time to look at other ways to improve the schools.

      • gotryit

        More diversity. We need to be able to convince enough people who have the option of sending their kids elsewhere that DCPS is viable – especially in middle / high school. Otherwise you’re left with those who can’t afford to do something else or don’t care.

    • actually I doubt it’s grandstanding. I believe her when she says she is against the deal.

      • It’s hard to say. The financials of the straight swap don’t favor the city, but how often do cities make a killing on development right away. Increased tax revenues over time are probably a more likely windfall in most deals (I honestly don’t know if that’s the case here). It seems to me that CM Bowser is blowing the dog whistle here, showing that she isn’t a gentrifier apologist (after all, what city demographic is lazily assumed to be the “soccer lovers.”)

        • Why are so many people who have an opinion about the fairness of the deal ignorant about how it’s actually structured? It won’t be a 1-to-1 swap, because of course the Reeves Center is worth more than the land around Buzzard Point. Akridge will have to give the city something beyond just swapping the land they own.

          • I have a readonably good idea of the plan, but my understanding is that many believe that the Reeves Center wouldn’t more at auction than the valuation included in the swap.

        • Hispanics?

    • Speaking of DC’s high spending on its crappy schools, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette just ran an op-ed titled, “The biggest gap in black kids’ learning: parents.” I immediately thought of the nuclear explosion such an honest discussion would cause in DC.

      • Well, it’s really an issue of economics and the parents’ level of education. I think many people recognize that kids in DC with struggling parents face a more difficult path to college. While it is true that in DC many of the poor families are African-American, the issues that need to be addressed to bring up the kids’ educational outcomes have little to do with race and are similar to problems in all types of lower income communities nationally.

        • No, not race, but yes, at the risk of inciting wrath – I’ll say culture. Millions of people with no education – both immigrants and American born – have valued education, pushed their children to embrace it, and seen the positive results. Some cultures – for a variety of reasons – are now failing to embrace education as a positive force.

          i.e. the Honey Boo-boo family – but they don’t represent the average dysfunctional culture in DC

          • Note that the “education” that you seem to think that people should value is what’s available in neighborhood public schools — the same schools that many people who post on this site would openly scorn for their own children. I’m not arguing against valuing education — just pointing out that what’s available for many families to “value” is a long way from, say, the educational opportunities offered at — say, Janney, Deal, and Wilson. Many people “not embracing” educational opportunities are people who have generational histories that likely include substandard educational experiences and opportunities, and a disconnect between educational opportunity and employment options.

      • Only a nuclear explosion if, say, someone were to throw out the title (in a comment section) and offer no accompanying context…i agree with the other commenters, economics and level of education have a great deal to do with it, but even then we dont get the full picture.

  • Not surprising at all. In order to balance out her Fentyite base, she’s pandering to anti-development residents on an issue that she knows will go against her. She gets credit for opposing something that will happen anyway – All of the news exposure with no downside. Just another example of what a Bowser administration would look like – all show, no substance.

  • I don’t think she knows what she’s talking about. Did she already wasted the Post endorsement?

  • jim_ed

    What a short-sighted dope. You get redevelopment of a functionally obsolete office building into a high tax producing residential building, and you spur development on a criminally underdeveloped industrial site that can take density and support mass transit.

    • Not to mention moving some much needed jobs across the river with the new Reeves center planned for Anacostia.

      • jim_ed

        Great point. I totally short changed the office development EotR that this project means. Even more reason to support this development.

  • I bet if they named the new soccer stadium after Barry – it wouldnt be such an issue. Barry’s name is prominently featured on the Reeves Center.

  • This is a reason not to support her.

  • lovefifteen

    Why on earth should DC tax payers give up to $150 million to a private enterprise like DC United? They should pay for their own stadium. We taxpayers should not have to subsidize their private enterprise.

    • The same reason DC would subsidize a private museum or theater company: it’s a cultural amenity for the community that also provides jobs and economic stimulus.

      • Ummm, no. Single-purpose stadiums are NOT cultural amenities. Museums and theaters contribute to the cultural fabric of a city with school trips, events, etc. Stadiums are costly white elephants, which the taxpayer shouldn’t be expected to foot the cost of.

    • In the abstract where principles matter, I agree with you. Taxpayers should not subsidize a private enterprise. That said, I really love soccer and love going to soccer games in soccer specific stadiums and being able to walk out of the stadium and still be in the city with walkable access to restaurants, parks and transit.

    • +1. Too many sweetheart deals going on here.

    • Do you even understand the deal? DC is NOT building a stadium, the team is building and paying for the stadium. The city will acquire the land and lease it to the team. The city will remain the owner of the land.

      • What difference does it make? $150 million is still a boatload of money for DC to be throwing at a private team.

        • I’ll shoot. The Reeves Center needs to be redeveloped anyway. With this deal, the Reeves Center will be redeveloped bringing more tax revenue to the city, DC United will get land for a new stadium that will serve as a big economic catalyst for the Southwest Waterfront, and Anacostia will get a big boost with city departments relocating there from the current Reeves Center. That’s pretty good for a 150 million dollar initial investment that the city will certainly make back several times over. If we lived in a city that lacked this sort of economic development vision, then that would truly be a reason to complain.

    • What is the maximum amount you think taxpayers should pay to subsidize private enterprise? Zero dollars? Is that across the board or just for sports teams?
      Also DC United *is* paying for the stadium, the city is simply acquiring the land (and retaining ownership of it). There will also be tax breaks and such, but as far as I can tell this is standard fare in dealings between the city and private enterprise.

    • I remember people screaming the same thing about the Nationals Stadium. I assure you, if you looked at the Navy Yard in 1999 versus 2014, you’d see why DC taxpayers funding something like that makes sense.

      Then again, that isn’t what is happening in the United deal either.

    • I’ve been going to DC United games since 1996 and I am against the deal. If the owner has almost a half-billion dollars to buy a chunk of Inter Milan like he did last year then he can pay for the stadium and land himself.

      • “If the owner has almost a half-billion dollars…blah, blah, blah…”

        Totally irrelevant. Every deal must stand on its own merits. If I have enough money to buy a $10 million house that does mean I should pay more than I need to for my car.

        P.S. – I’ve also been going to DCU games since ’96…but I am also a longtime homeowner blocks from the Reeves Center. All sides of this deal matter to me.

  • Different pot of $$$, Muriel, and you know it.

    For faks sake!

  • She is either ignorant on the details of this deal or assuming that her consituents are. Probably both from how little knowledge she seems to have on most issues.

  • THE CITY WILL GET FAIR MARKET VALUE. Wow. Bowser is either clueless, posturing, or both.

    The deal calls for the city to select a firm to place a fair market valuation on both the Reeves Center and the Buzzard Point property (that is, the value BEFORE the announcement of a stadium). Akridge (the developer) will also select a firm to do the same, and those two firms would select a mutually acceptable third firm to also value the properties. The average of the three would be used. That seems to me like a reasonable way to get to fair market value. Akridge will then pay the difference in cash to the city. This amount will be tens of millions of dollars.

    So why does Bowser feel comfortable suggesting that “they” are going to say “that it’s worth half of what everybody thinks it’s worth”? Is she not smart enough to understand the deal? Possibly. Or is it just politics? Even at the cost of good business, jobs, and smart development?

    I suggest it is the latter.

    Now let’s talk about the more important part of this issue to those of us who live here:

    The Reeves Center IS going to go. It’s a matter of when and what replaces it. I am a supporter of DC United but I am also a DC taxpayer, a homeowner, and a 12-year resident of the U Street neighborhood. We must insist that any new development there include more than high-end condos and expensive restaurants. It should continue to have community space for the farmers market (and other uses) and more than a token amount of affordable housing. This is a community asset and the community should have some say is what happens there. If these requirements change the financials of the deal for the city, Akridge, and DC United then so be it.

  • I have not taken the time to read up on most of these candidates, and fully admit I am uninformed. I never thought I would contemplate voting for Gray, but am starting to get worried that this will be a two person race between him and Bowser. Better the devil you know, I guess.

    Frankly, I am not sure any of the other candidates have done much that impress me, so that just seems to cancel them all out. Everyone complains that Evans is easily bought, but I also don’t want someone totally anti-corporation/anti-development.

    It’s sad to think you have to just pick the least worst person out of a heap of terrible picks. Why can’t this city do better?

  • It is a fair assessment that Muriel Bowser is in charge of her campaign staff. With that in mind, she ALLOWED this staff to hang a campaign sign on a gutted ugly building with an orange DC condemned property sign/sticker on the front window (see picture above). I don’t know how she would be as mayor, but that her own staff made this decision is EVERYTHING anyone needs to know about Muriel Bowser.

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