Big news out of the Wilson Building this morning, as Mayor Vince Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser and members of the D.C. Council have come to an agreement on how to fund the city's acquisition and cleanup of the site where D.C. United will build it's long-awaited (long, long, loooooong-awaited) new soccer stadium. After last week's first reading of the stadium bill - which the Council must pass before the city can move on any of the properties that comprise the stadium site - saw the Reeves Center land swap removed from the plan, major questions remained on how the District would fund its portion of the deal. Today's announcement settles that question and sets up a blessedly anticlimactic vote on the bill's final reading next Tuesday.
Today, the mayor agreed to submit a supplemental budget to the Council, something he was initially reticent to do because of the potential for Council Members to attach other spending to the budget. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and long-time Ward 2 CM Jack Evans have both assured the mayor that no riders will come through. After last week's vote, Mendelson had revived and passed a supplemental budget that the mayor claimed to have withdrawn from the Council, putting the vote into dubious legal territory. But by agreeing to submit a new supplemental budget, Gray has rendered that controversy moot.
One question remains, however: whether Akridge and the city, led by Mayor-Elect Bowser, will reach a deal for the development firm's land on the stadium site, or whether talks will break down and the city will initiate eminent domain proceedings to take the land at a price set by a court. Outgoing City Administrator Allen Lew - who was at the center of developing the stadium plan over the last two years but will not be part of the Bowser administration - has reportedly said that the expects the deal to get done within the city's self-imposed $150 million cap, regardless of any potential litigation.
We've been saying it with every recent stadium update, but D.C. United's new home is now closer to becoming a reality than it has ever been, and it's true again today.