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Loudoun supervisors vote to lease Leesburg property to D.C. United

Courtesy Photo/D.C. United
Loudoun County supervisors kicked plans for a 5,000-seat soccer stadium into the next phase Thursday, voting to lease land in Leesburg’s Philip A. Bolen Park for what will be home to a second-division D.C. United team.

The vote came down to 8-1, with Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) casting the lone “no” because of concerns with increased traffic through the nearby Kincaid Forest community.

D.C. United began talks with Loudoun County officials last year about building a 5,000-seat stadium, practice fields and offices on 54 acres on the west side of Philip A. Bolen Park. The proposal also includes the construction of four full-size soccer fields -- two of which will be exclusively for D.C. United and two for county use. The county will provide $15 million in financing for construction. The site of the proposed stadium and training facilities is valued at about $23 million.

The county will also be on the line to build 1,000 parking spaces for the stadium and provide access to a nearby park-and-ride that would allow for 691 vehicles during events at the facility. At least 1,100 additional parking spaces can be built on the property should the stadium expand in the future.

D.C. United will lease the property for 40 years with an option for two 10-year extensions.

Supervisors said they’ve taken a lot of complaints, some close to abusive, from constituents over their decisions to vote for the lease. Some residents, they said, simply didn’t understand what benefits the deal included.

“It’s not a mega stadium. It is a facility that the county will own. The county will have an asset that someone is paying us for,” said Supervisor Matthew Letourneau (R-Dulles).

The stadium will be available for county use when the second-tier team isn’t playing and will alleviate Loudoun’s problem of a lack of facilities to hold high school graduations and other big events. The county also has a shortage of soccer fields available for youth sports and this will help to shorten that gap, supervisors said.

Letourneau described the lease deal as “iron clad.”

“We’re really not taking on much financial risk at all,” he said.

Although the board voted to enter into the lease agreement with D.C. United, other details, such as how to use the second-division team to market Loudoun’s name and get additional revenue streams from the new stadium will still need to be ironed out.

Increased tax revenue from the improvements built on the property, sales tax, potential future admissions tax, transient occupancy tax and parking revenue could all be sources of new revenue for the county. Staff estimates that, for example, in fiscal 2020, approximately $228,000 of tax revenue could be generated.

The team is under contract through the United Soccer League to begin playing by spring 2019. It would play about 15 games a year at the stadium.

According to a report from Visit Loudoun, the county’s hotels have the potential to make nearly $1.2 million from soccer tournaments, as players and fans book rooms for the events. The facility, Visit Loudoun said, could also attract Atlantic 10 soccer and lacrosse tournaments, opening ceremonies for many youth sports and college in-season tournaments.

“It puts our message and our business message in front of a whole new audience we’ve never had before,” said Buddy Rizer, executive director for the county’s economic development.

In addition, supervisors will still need to address traffic concerns around the park, particularly Kincaid Boulevard. The road is linked to a section of Crosstrail Boulevard that leads into Philip A. Bolen Park and the park-and-ride lot that would be used for stadium parking.

Supervisors have asked Leesburg Town Council several times to open the road, but their request has been denied each time because council members want to keep it closed until the entire link of Crosstrail Boulevard is completed in two years. The link would run from Sycolin Road to the Village at Leesburg.

Comments


This looks like a great deal for United. Wondering if Leesburg Board had help from Purcellville board on this? In other words, Leesburg is going to lose money big time on this deal.


Bank of Supervisors
Investing taxpayer dollars by elected officials is a head scratcher. You would think a conservative would not buy into speculative deals with second tier minor league soccer teams. With a 15 million dollar taxpayer funded loan the DC United franchise is going to create 50 jobs here in Loudoun. Loudoun-based Defense Technology Equipment will invest $866,500 and create 20 new jobs locally so you see the trade off of 15 million for 50 jobs is not favorable to the county. If you are going to invest would you want stock in Costco, Wal-Mart, Amazon or stock in Sears, JC Penny and Radio Shack it does appear the Bank of Supervisors is seeking the least amount of return on our money. Rated as one of the lowest teams DC United is closer to folding like Sears is than they are to paying back a 15 million dollar over 20 years. BTW there is no investment upfront money by the club. The attendance for DC United is 10,000 people less then the league average. If the loan is not tied to the inflation rate we will get pennies on the dollar back. Did I mention the 7 million in infrastructure the county will fund I guess out of the goodness of their hearts. Who ever heard of the government being involved in a project of this scope and not running into the 30% overrun scenario, no one ever! Incumbents acting like fat cats with frivolous taxpayer funded loans need to become ex-incumbents in the 2019 elections! 


My only question to the BOS.
Does this Cost the County Money or at the end of the initial lease has the county made money?
Also if they sign a 40 year lease and decide in 5 years they are not going to have a second-division D.C. United team.
How much DEPOSIT is being asked for in case of Default by the team?
I do not approve any of my tax dollars being used to fund ANY PROFESSIONAL TEAM of any kind. IF YOU represent the PUBLIC, maybe you should put this on a Ballot and let the PUblic decide.


Now, can we get an access to the park from the W&OD; trail?


Uh, Bob…

“The stadium will be available for county use when the second-tier team isn’t playing and will alleviate Loudoun’s problem of a lack of facilities to hold high school graduations and other big events. The county also has a shortage of soccer fields available for youth sports and this will help to shorten that gap, supervisors said…”


IF THE COUNTY OWNS THE STADIUM THEN WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO HOLD GRADUATIONS THERE, STATE TITLE SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, CONCERTS AND OTHER ORGANIZED GROUPS THAT DON’T CONFLICT WITH SCHEDULED DC United games. Is this the case?
Bob Ohneiser Esq.

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