Friday Question of the Day – What Should We Do with RFK Stadium?

Photo by PoPville flickr user mosley.brian

ANC Commissioner Brian Flahaven reported:

“On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the DC Council’s Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on Bill 20-563, the District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Complex Feasibility Study Act of 2013. If enacted, this bill would require the Mayor to conduct a study to determine the “economic feasibility, economic impact and costs” of developing a new 100,000 seat superdome, indoor waterpark, soundstage, PGA-level golf course and hotel zone at the RFK Stadium, DC Armory and Langston Golf Course sites. If enacted, the bill requires the study to be completed by Feb. 15, 2015.

As I’ve detailed in a previous post, this is a really bad bill. Instead of outlining a thoughtful, open planning process that involves the community in determining future uses for the RFK Stadium site, B20-563 begins with the conventional wisdom (a new stadium to replace the old one) and surrounds it with a random grab bag of pet projects that will do little for the neighborhood and city.”

What do you guys think should be done with the stadium and surrounding property in a perfect world? What do you think realistically can/will happen?

109 Comment

  • National Park Service buys the land; tears down RFK; wait until next war(s) and/or political figure assassination – build monument or memorial.

    It is in direct axis to the national mall….might as well secure the land now in preparation

  • Fed transfers non-flood plain land to DC. It’s redeveloped into the city grid and we bring in residents and tax dollars and businesses in new commercial coordiors.

    Flood plain lands converted into recreation space like Long Bridge in Arlington.

    As for a football stadium, it should be judged not against whether it’s better than RFL but if it would be better than city blocks or recreation space (spoiler alert: it’s not)

  • waterpark.

  • Bring back the burgundy and gold…. as long as THEY pay for the new stadium… And not the taxpayers.

  • would be cool if they brought the skins back and built a new metro line the burgandy line.

  • Bring back the Redskins, but do not build a dome. Football is an outdoor sport.

  • Turn it into a memorial for all of the incredible concerts that have take place there!!! Maybe have one last Tibetan Freedom Festival there in honor of MCA!

  • Mixed use retail, maybe w/ a downsized stadium for DC United. Density is growing in that area w/o the corresponding amenities. Redskins = bad idea. Snyder would never pay for it. The city would be left with the bill, and a huge amount of land would sit vacant most of the year.


  • The Redskins are fine in Maryland. DC will never recoup the tax dollars it would spend building a new stadium for the Redskins (it could easily be over a billion) and in 20 years the team will complain about their aging facilities and probably leverage a new stadium out of NoVa.

    • Clearly you have not been over near Nationals Park. The city built that stadium and “BOOM” development over in that part of town since then continues to be amazing—something that probably would have never happened if that stadium was not built. The city will getting back money (tax revenue) from that investment for decades to come.

      • Are you under the impression that the Redskins play 81 home games?

      • You also have no idea about the history of the development in that area, which had been in the planning stages for years. There was no Boom, not even close.

        • Can you provide proof of this statement? By that I would like to see a link where I can find those planning documents, including the date the documents were issued, that is years before it was announced the stadium would be built.

          • I can. Start here for some background reading, and make sure you scroll down in date to the various news/community updates for some of the contemporeanous coverage.


            Getting the DOT and Navy on Board, as well as a few other commercial anchors were part of the plan, even before Mayor Williams announced the Stadium in 2006 (one of 4 sites considered) You’ll see that the Nats were actually a small piece of the overal strategic plan. No doubt an important part — but the bigger vision was already in place. If PoP wants to put us in touch, I’m happy to also connect you with some of the folks involved.

          • Take a look at jdland[dot]com/dc/timlein[dot]cfm
            It includes a good summary of the highlights, including links, of what was going on in that area prior to the baseball stadium announcement.

            One can argue over how much of what has happened in that neighborhood was or was not a direct result of the stadium construction, but it definitely has been an area of concern and interest of the city for decades, and it’s clear that prior to teh stadium momentum was increasing – the new DOT HQ, the conversion of the Navy Yard to offices, the Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation, the opening of the Green Line, etc – that make it likely that substantial change of some kind would have happened in the area even without the stadium.

          • Snap! It seems Anonymous 9:50 am has been SCHOOLED.

          • Because where the stadium is now has seen a massive boom????

            stadiums in general are not money makers for cities. Football in actually the worst. Largest stadium for 8 games a year. Terrible investment for a city. Keep it where it is. The soccer stadium is entirely different. Smaller footprint, more things outside of soccer can happen there.. the current deal with the city is probably the best stadium deal in the last ..well ever. Building a 100,000 seat stadium that can be used 10 times a year is dumb…plus parking and runoff, terrible terrible terrible.

          • +1. Nationals Park is the reason that area is what it is today.

        • don’t take the idiot Flying Spaghetti Monster bait. Just pour yourself a cup from the Russle Teapot.

        • Let’s not forget that the area by the Nats’ stadium was completely cut off from the rest of Capitol Hill by 395, while the area where RFK sits is simply an extension of the existing Capitol Hill grid with no impediments.

          • Yes, that is the big difference. Hill East is a solid thriving community, definitely not a wasteland in need of revitalization. The area is such a successful community that it does not need even anything like a Nats Park with 80 games a year. The area by Nats Park was a totally different story before that facility was built.

      • you are nuts and clearly don’t remember what was going on then.

      • First, back when they build National Stadium that area of SE/SW was somewhat barren or had a lot of business that people were OK with booting. The same can most definitely NOT be said of the RFK area. There will be no big boom (other than the Reservation that is over there that they have been planning and will in part be building one relatively soon).

        Second, the Nationals Stadium and the the development in SE/SW also coincided with a huge building binge in the close in areas.

    • So….Are you saying if the team moves to NOVA that after 20 years they will not complain about their aging stadium?

    • Amen. We’re lucky Abe Pollin was very committed to DC and didn’t try to pull off a Maloofian extortion. Dan Snyder will play MD, DC, and VA off each other for the best deal. DC should just opt out of that game. While I understand that stadiums and arenas have cultural value, DC is awash in other things with plenty of cultural value (history, museums, music). Unlike, say, the vast suburban wasteland of NoVA.

  • A water park would be great!

  • why do people want a water park in DC? that sounds like the WORST use of land ever?

  • oklahoma ave metro station connected to street car

  • I think we should use the land in a way that benefits the most people in the city: a training center to teach people from Virginia how to parallel park.

  • More condos condos condos!!!! Also ground level retail.

  • Pop-up!

  • Full, wrap-around service development project for providing services to the homeless.

  • Super Walmart

  • More condos, office space, retail, bars/restaurants … . If they can squeeze a 17K soccer stadium somewhere in there i’m fine with that too.

    Bringing ‘Skins back to DC may be a feel-good idea but their 10 home games a year won’t bring as much revenue as thousands of new residents. I hope this process will go through extensive review and debate process.

    • That’s pretty consistent with the master plan for Res 13 to the south developed with extensive input from ANC and community over the past decade. Brian Flahaven’s post is really just a reiteration that there is a plan in place for developing this land and the Mayor (or DMPED Victor Hoskins . . . same deal) seem determined to ignore this sensible plan and park a bunch of pet projects next door where they’re likely incompatible with the existing plans. What you describe above is consitent with what the community wants for Res 13, but there’s a lot of concern about the current piecemeal grab-bag approach coming from the Mayor’s office on Res 13, and only likely to be exacerbated with the RFK site proposals.

      The RFK site can currently only be used for parkland, stadium and memorials, not hotels — if anything accompanying the parks/stadium/memorials is included in the planning, it would almost have to usurp the existing plans for Res 13. Granted that includes DC General and the DC Jail, but at least one of those sites is unsustainable as it currently exists anyway.

  • Olympic Village for the 2024 Summer games!

  • Giant “The Awakening” fifty times bigger than the one that used to be at Hains Point, Big enough to see from space.

  • I think they should build a small stadium surrounded by fields. The schools could be given first priority of field use and then they could be rented out at any other time. Whenever they aren’t reserved by a group they can just be open to public use. Throw in some bleachers and concessions, surround the thing with a fitness trail.

  • jim_ed

    Build it as a 80,000 seat stadium with a retractable dome. It should be the home of the Redskins, but more importantly it should serve as a National Stadium, like Wembley does for the UK. It should be the home of our national soccer teams, and also used for final 4’s, big time bowl games, high school championships, conventions, etc, whatever to keep it in use ~100 days a year. Limit the parking, develop the surrounding surface lots as mixed use, and add to the tax base.

  • andy

    Home stadium for the Cowboys when they play in DC or east coast teams. Go Cowboys!

  • NFL stadiums don’t belong in cities. They need too much parking, and they don’t get used enough. I wouldn’t want the Redskins to build there even if they offered to pay for everything. I for sure wouldn’t want the city to pick up the tab.

    • NFL stadiums don’t actually need all of that parking if they are well served by public transportation.

      • Even if you can convince the NFL of that, and I don’t think you could, you’ll never convince Snyder to forgo the $40/car he’s getting in the burbs.

      • I doubt the NFL or the Redskins would allow a stadium to be used as a home field if it did not include a significant amount of parking. Tailgating culture is a huge part of the “NFL experience,” as wealthy season ticketing holding suburbanites love to drive out their $100K buses and RVs to the games. They’d throw a shit fit if there was no room for their massive cars and tailgating equipment. Those are the most loyal and high-spending fans. Gotta keep ’em happy and drunk.

  • GiantSquid

    No football. Nothing that requires those huge parking lots. That’s a waste of valuable space. They also create runoff into the river and when tailgating happens, there’s glass and other crap all over the lot and bike trail. Widen the green/park space between the river and development, like a more verdant version of the waterfront down by the ballpark. Then build mixed retail and living spaces. With the metro stop, bus stop, and bike trail, it would be foolish to spend the money to develop it into something that’s only used several times a year, as it is now.

  • Public Housing

    • agree – perfect place to consolidate all the public housing throughout the rest of the city to improve efficiency.

      • Consolidating public housing is a terrible idea. Low income/impoverished people often have problems/needs that the rest of the population do not. When you put all of them together you over burden the area and create bigger problems.

        • +1. Urban planners tend to aim for mixed-income developments now; people have learned from the failure of housing projects.

      • Bad, bad, bad idea. They already tried this model and it failed miserably. Any public housing over 10 years old IS this model. DC is moving away from this as are most cities precisely because it failed.

    • yeah. brilliant. Why don’t they just expand DC General where they dump most of it right now?

      Would you like them to build a separation wall too, because I’d hate for you to have to see it on the one day a year your yuppy as attends the Kingman Island Bluegrass festival

    • I do want it to have a lot of public housing–they could easily put in 25% very low income, 25% moderate, and 50% market-rate for a total of 8-10k units total. I could see it having some really good schools that provide supportive services; if the popularity of Bridges, Easter Seals, Appletree etc. are an indication, wealthier families are willing to mix their kids with very poor ones if the programs are strong enough. They should make sure to put in a good number of 3 and 4-bedroom units so families move there; with all the parkland (and a lot of it will have to stay for flood protection reasons) it would be a great place to have kids.

    • Or at least reasonably priced housing for the many people who live in DC who don’t make $90,000+ and can’t afford more than a grand a month for an apartment (like me before I bought 14 years ago).

  • While on a personal level I would love to have an awesome PGA golf course in the city, I think the most practical thing would be to build a mix of low-income and mixed-use residential/commercial buildings. If our city is going to grow as much as the local government projects it will and they don’t want to build bigger buildings downtown, this would be valuable space to develop.

    • A PGA Course is probably not a good idea in a much land…but if Orange is should be Hains Point and not Langston. You have to think Views for the tournaments. The view you get at Langston is RFK. The views you get at Haines is…monuments. Which one is better?

      • Sorry, but Langston is the far superior course…a lot of maintenance and a bit of redesign would make this a spectacular place to play, possibly even tournament quality. Plus I don’t think you could lengthen Hain’s Point enough to hold a tournament, which you could do with Langston. Also, it has significant history as a center of African-American golf, which could be major appeal to the PGA for hosting a tournament (like Tiger’s) if they can get the course up to snuff.

        Not to focus too much on the golf course, but as much as I’m skeptical about other parts of this deal, I think redeveloping Langston is a great idea, at least if the city can find a way to keep it public and accessible to DC residents (such as jacking up the prices for MD and VA hackers). The course really is a jewel (I’ve loved it since taking the X2 bus there as a college student, lugging my clubs), and if marketed correctly, could be a moneymaker for the city.

        • Don’t disagree with Langston being the better course..but both would have to be massively redesigned..and the lenght is better in langston, but with the right architecture you could make hains long enough…The view shed of Hains is much much much, X 1000. better. Would you see NBC show a massive drive towards RFK and the metro or towards the Washington Monument?

  • A if the Redskins will come back on reasonable terms; otherwise C.

  • Something like the Disney/ESPN Sportsplex. Serves the local community, serves a national community, brings in tourism dollars, and can be used year-round.

  • No stadium – keep the ‘skins in MD.
    Redevelop into a mixed use, mixed-income, and sustainable neighborhood. Would be a shame to lose this opportunity to construct another outdated albatross (stadium, waterpark…).
    Increasing the number of residents in DC benefits the city in increased taxes, increase businesses, increased jobs – not some surge of activity 10 days a year.
    Put the new DC united stadium by Nats. Redeveloping this part of DC will spur development across the river.

  • One word: “Soccertown.”

    Tear down RFK. Scrap the Buzzard Point plan. Forget about attracting the RedSnyders. Build a mixed-use development around a new soccer-only stadium, capacity around 20,000. (Small enough to be intimate and breed a passionate fanbase.) Affordable housing. Pickup soccer and facilities for kids’ leagues. New elementary school and a community center. Access to the riverfront park. Let the soccer stadium sell everything else.

  • Auction it off. Use the proceeds to fix potholes.

  • Build Res 13 as planned for mixed use retail and residential. Raze the stadium and parking lots and build out massive recreational sports fields to host local and regional soccer, lacrosse, baseball, track and field, ultimate frisbee, bocce leagues. It could be integrated into the recreational resources that are already in place on the other side of the river, and make more advantageous use of the Anacostia Riverwalk and Kingman Island facilities. Build in parkland amenities like an olympic pool, locker rooms, snack bars, skate park (already there), splash park, playground, outdoor training equipment, and public toilets, access roads, small parking lots and perhaps a shuttle bus to connect to the metro station. It is consistent with the federally designated purpose, and can serve as an outlet for growing demands for recreational space as demographics in the city shift accounting for more families raising children. Res 13 is already planned to bring substantial additional tax revenues and bring retail amenities and increased density. The field space could attract moderate rental income and tourism revenues from regional sports leagues that could host tournament play on the sports fields. And it would improve quality of life for the whole city by creating an additional destination recreation area, that compliments and adds to the opportunities available in Rock Creek Park, the Mall, and Haines Point.

  • As someone who lives within walking distance to the stadium I say hell no. I moved in after the Redskins moved to MD but the stores that are told of people driving around looking for on street parking…. (there are no parking on Even signs left over from when the National were there but still).

    People forget that for football stadiums there is a higher percent of drivers because football is more of a tailgate sport than baseball is and while some will get spots many will not. You will still need LOTS of parking even though there is a Metro station there.

  • Metro infill station at Oklahoma Ave./Benning Road. Develop some mixed-income/mixed-use development by the Metro. A lot of what is now Lot 7 is in a flood plain and there are a couple of buried streams under the lot. Could be a good opportunity to expand parkland, daylight some streams, provide environmental education, and provide a needed pollution runoff buffer for the Anacostia. The other areas could be used for a sports complex (soccer, baseball, tennis, etc), housing/retail development closer to the Stadium Armory station (what has been planned for Res 13. possibly lot 8). I do NOT want the local NFL team to move back here (I live in Kingman Park). The lots and stadium sit as wastelands for much of the year. It seems like a lot of what has been proposed does not fit in with the neighborhood – i.e. giant hotels and another stadium.

  • Tera it down. Sell it to a developer for some sort of mixed use. keep the parkland nearby. If the Deadskins want it, they can pay for it.

  • Whatever happens, the acres and acres and acres of parking lots must go. What a colossal waste of space.

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