Events D.C. unveils new designs for first phase of RFK stadium project

25 January 2018

Events D.C. on Wednesday evening unveiled new designs for the first phase of the RFK Memorial Stadium campus redevelopment, a project that includes multipurpose recreational fields for soccer, lacrosse and baseball, as well as amenities such as a playground, bike paths and green space.

The city's conventions and sports authority presented the plans at a community meeting at St. Luke Catholic Church. The fields will go in the current site of the stadium's Lot 7, just north of the 57-year-old venue itself. The District-owned stadium is without a regular tenant after D.C. United played its final match there last year.

"We wanted the different aspects of a field to accommodate different sports, and within that, we wanted to make sure those fields could be divided such that little kids could play," said Greg O'Dell, president and CEO of Events D.C. "The community also requested a playground so we were able to accommodate a playground into the field configuration."

Previously, the configuration called for "three fields that were just placed in a general area as opposed to thinking about the interaction and connectivity with those fields," he said.

Construction of the multipurpose fields will likely begin this summer and mark the first step in reinventing the stadium into a development that is expected to generate $4.5 million in annual tax revenue and hundreds of new jobs. Events D.C. is working with federal and local regulators to gain approvals.

O'Dell said Events D.C. plans to seek bids as early as next week for the recreational fields project, which are one of several short-term campus program elements, including an open-concept market hall with staple, prepared and specialty food vendors; a potential anchor restaurant; and a state-of-the-art sports and recreation complex that will offer sports, fitness and entertainment programming in a centralized location.

Events D.C. did not provide a price tag for the construction of the fields.

"The overall site is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reimagine an area that will not only be a sports and entertainment district not only for Washington, D.C., but the region," he said. "This is us putting our first foot forward to make sure that when we do the short-term plans, that we do it right."

There are three long-term scenarios for the campus: a new NFL football stadium as the anchor, a 20,000-seat indoor basketball and hockey arena as an anchor, or no large venue anchor with the development of more sports and recreation uses on the current RFK stadium site.