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Mayor: Parking plan OK

- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams said yesterday the city is still committed to partnering with developer Herb Miller on a parking and commercial complex north of the Washington Nationals new ballpark despite a tight deadline and lack of clarity on how the project will be financed.

Williams said the Miller plan remains the best option to satisfy the city's requirement for parking at the stadium site while also promoting economic development in the area. Miller's plan calls for two parking garages accommodating a total of 925 cars to be surrounded by condominiums, with retail space and a hotel at street level. The city plans to sell the land for the project to Miller and contribute to the cost of the parking but currently faces a budget shortfall. Negotiations with Miller are ongoing.

"We believe there are a number of ways to help finance that," Williams said. "We believe we can satisfy the sports commission, the Nationals, and the [city's chief financial officer]."

The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission is still collecting information from Miller, who must show in writing that the city will be protected from financial liability if he does not complete the work on time. Sports commission officials also are exploring backup options to satisfy the parking requirement. For the Miller plan to be completed on time, construction must begin by Labor Day.

Williams said keeping the ballpark project on time and on budget has been a challenge, in part because there have been multiple parties with separate interests.

"It's very difficult because everyone's going in different directions," he said. "We want to be on the same page. We can't say different things to different people."