Tuesday October 28th, 2014

The release of the study into financial risks associated with a potential new stadium for D.C. United has been delayed until next Wednesday, the day after the Nov. 4 elections, according to The Washington Post.

The study, which was commissioned by city council chairman Phil Mendelson, was supposed to be released Tuesday. Mendelson's office announced that it wasn't sure if the report would be made public before Election Day. 

All candidates for mayor and city council have held off on declaring their stance on the new stadium until the release of the report, meaning voters likely won't know where candidates stand on the issue when they go to the polls next week.

According to the Post, there's no clear reason for the report's delay.

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In an interview, the council chairman offered little explanation for changing the date, even as he suggested that doing so would make the task of approving a deal before the council adjourns in December more difficult. “There isn’t a lot of time, and moving it back— even one week — takes away some time, I know,” he said.

Three council staffers close to the project were told that a scheduling conflict with one of the consultants who helped draft the report contributed to the delay. But the report has been largely finished for weeks, and Mendelson and other top council staffers were briefed Oct. 10 on its findings.

Mendelson has said he opposes parts of the stadium plan, which was proposed by Mayor Vincent Gray in the spring, but opinions differ as to whether the delay will hurt or help the eventual approval of the new stadium plan.

The plan calls for a series of land swaps that would lead to the construction of a stadium close to Nationals Park in the southeast of the city. Most of the opposition to the plan centers on an area of city-owned land named the Reeves Center in the northern part of the district, which would be converted into luxury housing by private developers.

Mendelson told the Post the report affirms his and others' concerns about the Reeves Center, which surround the idea that its conversion would increase the city's growing economic disparity. Others said the report is ambiguous on the topic.

Under the proposed plan, D.C. United would pay about $140 million to build the stadium and would receive about $40 million in tax breaks, while taxpayers would contribute about $120 million.

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D.C. United currently plays in RFK Stadium, which has been in use since 1961. United is the only major professional team that still uses RFK as its home stadium.

United finished first in the Eastern Conference this season with 59 points. The team opens the playoffs Nov. 2 against the winner of Red Bulls-Sporting Kansas City.

Ben Estes

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