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District of Columbia to borrow $70 million for D.C. United stadium; tax abatements out

The D.C. United stadium deal seems closer than ever to passage, but big changes are being made at the last moments.

Martin Austermuhle of WAMU talked to DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson this morning and got the scoop on the direction that the D.C. United stadium deal is taking.the big news from Austermuhle is that the District will borrow $70 million in order to finance the acquisition of the land and the preparation of the stadium site; this borrowing is needed because the Reeves Center land swap was taken out of the deal. Mendelson also said that the total cost to the District could end up being between $150 million and $200 million.

However, the other big news is that the tax abatements for D.C. United have been removed from the deal as well. Removing the tax abatements is expected to return about $50 million to the District to help offset the borrowing, but will likely results in higher prices elsewhere. Update: Removing the sales tax abatement would save the District about $4 million; the property tax abatements are still in the deal. Also, since the tax abatements were in the term sheet signed by the club and by Vincent Gray last year, D.C. United would have to accept the new deal on the table. My guess, however, is that they would.

The deal will be subject to two votes tomorrow, one by the Committee of the Whole and one by the full Council. The Committee of the Whole meeting, at 10:00 AM tomorrow morning, is likely to be where any changes take place; once it is reported from that committee, it will receive its first vote by the full Council. If it passes then, it will be placed on the agenda for the December 16 meeting for final approval. Of course, there is still the outstanding issue of the land parcel owned by Akridge, so nothing is done until everything is done; D.C. United fans know this better than anyone else in MLS.