D.C. United’s new soccer stadium, anticipated for the 2016 season, will be completed “on-time and on-budget,” Mayor Vincent Gray promised Tuesday as he prepared to sign a project labor agreement for construction.
He also acknowledged the one small snag still hanging over the stadium — “we still have to agree on the land, but we’re running at pace with that, too.”
In late July, the city and soccer team announced plans to construct a new $300 million, 20,000-seat stadium, located adjacent to the Fort McNair Army base and Nationals Park in Southwest D.C. But the final piece of the complex puzzle of property swaps is Super Salvage, a salvage yard which has processed scrap metal in the city for decades.
The problem was first reported by radio station WAMU-FM in early August. The city has since suggested the possibility of using eminent domain to seize the land. When pressed for further detail on Tuesday, Gray said he had “nothing new and significant to announce.”
Once the land deal falls into place, officials are hoping the new United stadium buzzes along as rapidly as the roughly two-year construction of the Nationals Park.
Standing on the sidewalk outside the Home Plate Gate, City Administrator Allen Y. Lew said using the project labor agreement designed for Nats Park as a guide helped the city to quickly draft the latest labor agreement.
It ensures that the project will use union labor for subcontracts valued more than $6 million — such as for cement and steel, Lew said. Any trade packages less than $6 million are open to bidding by smaller, often non-union firms.
A crowd of unionized cement masons, sprinkler fitters and electrical workers joined the mayor for the announcement.
Brent Booker, secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Department for North America’s Building Trades Unions, said the contract “projects a commitment to providing a respectable standard of living to D.C. construction workers. ... Those who live in the city will be able to build the facilities that we’re all going to enjoy.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.