By THOMAS FLOYD
After years of false hope and frustration, there finally appears to be legitimate optimism regarding D.C. United's search for a new home in the nation's capital.
According to a draft study commissioned by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance and obtained by The Washington Post, a new stadium at Buzzard Point near Nationals Park would cost at least $157 million to build but could generate $5.5 million to $7.3 million a year in tax revenue for Washington.
The study, compiled by Convention, Sports & Leisure International, envisions a 24,000-seat venue that, in addition to United's 17 league matches, would host 25 to 37 events a year, including international and college games, as well as concerts and community events.
Robert T. Sweeney, president of Convention, Sports & Leisure International, said the club’s effort to build a stadium is "further along than it ever has been in the past" and added that "things are happening in the right places at the right levels behind the scenes."
United owner Will Chang, the team's lone investor for the past three years, has been in discussions with potential new investors as the team moves forward on the stadium front. Erick Thohir, an Indonesian businessman and part-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, is close to buying the majority share, according to The Post.
The news come seven months after MLS sent a survey to supporters in the Baltimore area "to help determine the viability of the market as a potential home of an MLS Club." In late 2010, the Maryland Stadium Authority conducted a study that explored building a 25,000-seat stadium for United at the Westport Waterfront property in Baltimore near Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.
What do you think of this latest development regarding United's search for a stadium? Does it seem like the pieces are finally falling into place? Or should D.C. fans save their celebrations until the ground is broken?
Share your thoughts below.