D.C. Seeks New Development Ideas for Poplar Point

Posted July 24, 2007 at 4:21pm

A new DC United soccer stadium seems less likely after city officials announced Monday evening that they are launching an open bidding process for the development of Anacostia’s Poplar Point.

The 110-acre site, located across the Anacostia River from Capitol Hill, is slated for a mixed-use development with a 70-acre waterfront park. DC United hoped to make a new soccer stadium the centerpiece, similar to the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium in Southeast. But unlike the Nationals’ $611 million stadium — for which the city is footing the bill — DC United planned to pay most of the cost.

But negotiations between the soccer team and city officials broke down last week.

Now Neil Albert, the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, will issue a solicitation to developers by the end of August, according to a press release. And that solicitation will not require developers to include a soccer stadium in their plans.

“Poplar Point is one of the District’s most valuable assets and we are presented with a truly once in a generation opportunity to build a new community on the river,” Albert said in the release. “We need an open, transparent and community-driven process to determine that this site will deliver the maximum benefits to our residents.”

DC United still hopes to build a stadium, but officials will have to wait until Albert releases the solicitation to decide their next step, said Julie Chase, spokeswoman for MacFarlane Partners, a majority owner of the team.

City officials envision Poplar Point as a gateway to the often-ignored neighborhoods across the river. It is currently federal land, but federal and city officials are in the process of handing it over to the city. Plans call for 3.5 million square feet of development, with at least 30 percent of housing to be affordable to low- and moderate-income residents.

— Emily Yehle