- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A study released Tuesday by the Maryland Stadium Authority found that building a stadium in Prince George’s County for the D.C. United soccer team would create as many as 1,320 jobs and would generate as much as $30.8 million annually.

The $75,000 feasibility study also found a stadium would increase tax revenue by at least $2.2 million.

“There is a lot that still needs to be done in terms of figuring out the costs and figuring out a site,” said county spokesman John Erzen. “This is one step in the process, then comes the step of reviewing the study. The ball is in now in our court.”

The county’s proximity to airports, hotels and other area attractions — including Six Flags and the National Harbor— also would make the stadium attractive for hosting other national and international events.

The 97-page study also stated that construction would take 18 to 24 months. However, the cost estimates were not included.

Though the study did not include information about potential sites, it pointed out the possibility that a new stadium could compete against existing Maryland venues for sponsors, suite leases and especially live events.

The study, by Crossroads Consulting Services, of Tampa, Fla., was based on a 24,000 to 27,000 seat stadium with 56 to 63 events a year, including 15 D.C. United home games. It also estimates a cumulative, annual attendance of 680,000 to 841,000.

“D.C. United would like to thank Prince George’s County for requesting and the Maryland Stadium Authority for its efforts in analyzing the potential economic impact of a new home for our club in Prince George’s County,” D.C. United spokesman Doug Hicks said. “The comprehensive report … substantiates what D.C. United has always believed: Our new stadium will be a strong economic catalyst providing significant benefits - which will promote and enliven additional mixed-use development around the country.”

The next step, if the county decides to continue with the project, would be to determine financial interest and designate a site, according to the Maryland Stadium Authority.

D.C. United, which is owned by real estate investor Victor MacFarlane, originally pushed to have the soccer-specific stadium built in the District, only to be met with squabbling over financing.

The original proposed site, at Poplar Point in Southeast, received strong community support. The two sides appeared close to a deal last year that called for a facility and a mixed-use development. However, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, instead put the project out for competitive bidding, with a soccer stadium as the only option for the site.

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