The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday night to increase the county's construction contribution to the Segra Field at Bolen Park and the upcoming training center for DC United and Loudoun United by $10 million due to rising development costs.
Loudoun County and D.C. Sports Facilities Entertainment LLC signed a $15 million lease agreement for the Bolen Park project in Leesburg last year, though DC Soccer Management Company is expected to reimburse the county's initial investment. The county's construction budget has since been adjusted to more than $17.2 million, up from an original estimate of $7 million.
A county staff report notes, "The development costs for the project have been higher than expected for both the County and the Tenant. During the course of the County work, the County has adjusted its budget higher for a total amount of $17,225,000. The original estimates for the work was approximately $7 million."
The report continues, "Tenant reports that it has experienced similar cost escalation on its scope of work as well. Tenant’s costs overruns are currently estimated at approximately $12 million to $15 million. As a result, Tenant requested that the County assist with funding $8.7 million of project scope that is currently Tenant’s responsibility under the terms of the Lease. County staff believe the value of this scope of work to be at least $10 million."
Leesburg Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D) voted against the motion to contribute another $10 million, which passed 7-1-1. Dulles Supervisor Matthew Letourneau (R) was absent for the vote.
“I am not persuaded that the county is going to see the kind of return on its investment that we normally would expect in the time period that we normally would expect on the first part of this deal,” Umstattd said. “And the second [funding agreement] ... makes it even more difficult to recoup and recover our expenditures. So, I cannot support this."
Broad Run Supervisor Ron Meyer (R) said he felt uncomfortable voting for the motion, though he eventually supported it.
“We do believe in Loudoun United, and we believe that will be successful, and I think that's why we all bought into this deal,” Meyer said. “I think it's something the next board really needs to watch to make sure we are getting our money's worth, and when you invest this sort of money for this sort of project that we make sure it gets our return on investment. I’m a little bit concerned that we're adding this much to the deal that the return is going to get a little bit harder to achieve.”
As part of the alterations to the lease, D.C. Sports Facilities Entertainment LLC proposed two additions, including a Strategic Partnership Agreement with DC United and Loudoun United that provides marketing and exposure value to Loudoun County valued at $900,000 annually, or approximately $9 million over the proposed 10-year term of the agreement. The Department of Economic Development estimates the value closer to $650,000 a year based on what the equivalent costs would be to purchase similar services, according to county documents.
The second addition is a partnership with the Washington Spirit, which is a club in the National Women’s Soccer League.
The Spirit is expected to co-locate its headquarters and training center with DC United and Loudoun United at Bolen Park and play four to five home games per year at Segra Field, as well as partner with Loudoun County in a similar manner as the DC United and Loudoun United teams.
Loudoun United played its first game at Segra Field at Bolen Park in August and concluded its inaugural season in the fall.