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Issa Says Lifting District's Height Act Could Lure Pro Football Back to D.C.

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Could an adjustment to the Height Act help bring the Washington football team back to the city?

Vincent Orange is sponsoring the bill, and fellow Democratic mayoral candidates Muriel Bowser and Jack Evans have signed on as co-sponsors. Paying homage to local music legends, the stadium complex would include an outdoor “Marvin Gaye Square” with live music and a designated “Chuck Brown Stage” for performances, in addition to restaurants, a food truck court, a beer garden and a nearby housing complex complete with a 24-hour diner, grocery store and movie theater.

The proposal also suggests the DC National Guard Armory could be turned into a soundstage, making Washington a more attractive destination for movie and TV producers. Nearby would be a film center with two state-of-the-art theaters and private screening rooms “capable of both 35mm and digital projection,” along with a gallery, cafe and gift store.

Nearby Langston Golf Course could undergo a complete renovation, to be brought up to par for PGA Championship golf. The bill also envisions an indoor water park and more than 1,000 hotel rooms to accommodate all the new visitors.

Brian Flahaven, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Hill East, thinks the study and the development it suggests would be a bad idea. He describes the arrangement as “a random grab bag of pet projects that will do little for the neighborhood and city.”

As for Issa’s concerns that height limits would be an obstacle to attracting the sort of development that could ultimately woo Washington’s football team — the same councilmembers supporting the bill say they are opposed to any changes to the current Height Act.

Bowser, Evans and Orange all indicated that, if elected mayor, they would not support changes to existing height limits.

Issa said he sees opportunities and “economic challenges ... but again, that’s for the city fathers, that’s for you as their elected representatives,” he said, noting that his committee stands ready to assist “in any way we can to enhance the federal city.”

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