Thursday, June 01, 2006

No, Instead:

Spend $700 million + for new stadium immediately next to an un-widened South Capitol Street, squandering the opportunity of a South Capitol Mall, instead of just $18 million to re-furbish existing RFK Stadium.

Major League Baseball dictate this all new $700 million + stadium to spark real estate development in large continuous area where that "fire" is already burning; and abandon the existing stadium, squandering its potential to spark real estate development via un-examined parking lot air rights development.

Keep that existing stadium area stymied by truncating the SE Freeway; and further stymie it with the current Middle Anacostia Transportation Study that would take away the 11th Street Bridge's ramp connections towards RFK, along with that area of the SE Freeway, thereby placing this traffic stream directly on the surface, hence maximizing vehicular-pedestrian conflict.

Submit to and do not question the insistence of Major League Baseball to locate this new Nationals baseball stadium right up against the eastern edge of the existing South Capitol Street right of way (with only an extra 15 feet to widen the sidewalk), effectively locking in a decision to NOT substantially widen the South Capitol Street corridor. This:

scraps the main thrust of the main idea that came about through 5+ years of public and professional meetings during the early and mid 1990s that brought about NCPC's 1997 "Extending the Legacy: Planning America's Capital for the 21st Century"

avoids building removal and eminent domain for the linear park, but embraces it for the Nationals Stadium and its related development, as eminent domain becomes acceptable like magic, with all the buildings alongside are shown removed with the exception of one.

was further “justified” because much of the vehicular traffic could be diverted into proposed parallel tunnel, which is nonetheless effectively CANCELED via the recommendation of another report released almost simultaneously, thereby creating a perpetual traffic problem -- because of a "need" to sped up real estate development by about 5 years. (The vehicular tunnel came through the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.)

avoids the issue of perpetual property tax revenues, given that the Federal government has been offering other lands to the District government to offset other property tax losses.

was made through government reports all released between the Nationals stadium site's appearance (mislabeled as an “M Street SE” site) in a D.C. stadium study report dated November 2002, and its public announcement, September 2004.

places a 41,000 seat baseball stadium closer then ever before to a RR potentially with HAZMAT, when D.C.'s RR gets relocated into a new north-south tunnel segment within a few hundred feet of this stadium.

The $700+ million figure:


Top District officials discussed new estimates for a baseball stadium project along the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington yesterday and determined that costs could reach more than $700 million, which is more than $100 million beyond the previous forecast of the city's chief financial officer.

Officials stressed that the new estimates are preliminary and take into account all potential costs, including $41 million for underground parking, $20 million to upgrade the Navy Yard Metro station and $12 million to rebuild nearby roads. They added that some of the work might not have to be paid for by the city or done at all...

A source with knowledge of the discussions said the estimates reached $714 million. That source, who had seen a document detailing the costs, spoke on condition of anonymity because Gandhi is working on a report of new estimates and the numbers are not final...

Gandhi's previous estimate was $535 million for the stadium project, plus $54 million in financing fees, for a total of $589 million.

The source said the new estimates from Gandhi's office include $58 million to cover financing fees associated with stadium construction bonds, which the city plans to pay using revenue generated by taxes from Washington Nationals games this past season and interest on the bond money before it is spent next year.

But Gandhi's new estimates also include $40 million in contingencies, twice the $20 million extra in contingencies that Major League Baseball recently agreed to contribute to the project during ongoing stadium lease negotiations, the source said.

Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), who opposes the project, said yesterday that he intends to introduce two stadium-related emergency bills at the council's legislative meeting today, including one that would cap the cost of the project at $535 million.

In recent weeks, Catania and others had calculated that the projected price had reached well over $600 million because city officials removed $55 million of infrastructure costs and $54 million in bond financing fees from the original budget to deal with escalating stadium costs.

Because the city is financing the construction bonds with other revenue, it might have to pay the infrastructure costs with city money in the future, Catania said.

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