Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ten Questions and Answers about 2014 Cost-Benefit Analysis for the New DC United Stadium at Buzzard Point

The Cover of the 2014 Cost-Benefit Report for the Proposed DC United Stadium at Buzzard Point
(Photo: Scanned Image of Cost-Benefit Report Study Prepared for DC City Council)
by Doug Barnes, Tod Lindberg and David Rusk

The headlines coming out after the unveiling of the cost-benefit report on the DC United stadium deal were neutral to positive in tone:
  • "Analysis: United stadium would be MLS's priciest but could deliver economic benefits." Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2014. "
  • "Report says new DC United stadium would be most expensive in MLS history." NBC Sports, Nov. 5. 2014.
  • "D.C. United stadium deal has plenty of risks and rewards, report reveals." Washington Business Journal, Nov. 5. 2014.
  • "Akridge agrees to concessions in United stadium deal." Washington Post, Nov 5, 2014.
Behind all these headlines are a ton of data and 400 pages of text entitled Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Soccer Stadium Development Act of 2014, authored by Conventions, Sports and Leisure (CSL), Integra Reality Resources, and The Robert Bobb Group (referred hereafter as CSL report). These organizations are all well-respected consulting firms hired by the DC Council to present a fair and honest assessment of the numbers behind the DC United Stadium Deal. We have read the full report, and Doug Barnes attended the four-hour Council meeting discussing the new study.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Proposed DC United Stadium at Buzzard Point: Nine Misunderstandings

Map of Buzzard Point with DCU Stadium Outline, 2014
(Photo: Google Maps Modified by Doug Barnes)

by Doug Barnes, David Rusk, and Tod Lindberg
August 2014

A lot of misunderstanding surrounds the proposal for a new soccer stadium for DC United at Buzzard Point. The responses below to nine key issues are based on the proposal negotiated by the District’s City Administrator, DC United, and the different landowners, which is currently being reviewed by the DC Council. The Council has hired CSL International to make its own independent review of this proposal; that review is due by September 12. Some dollar figures cited below are from the City Administrator-financed benefit-cost study by Brailsford & Dunlavey.

The figures in CSL’s study (financed by the City Council) are unlikely to be very different because the cited figures relate only to the fiscal benefits analysis of the project: taxes paid to and other revenue generated for the District by the new stadium itself and the direct operations within it. The Council has agreed to conduct the analysis over both a 10-year and a 30-year timeframe (the life of the project). The District will also likely realize significant fiscal benefits from projected off-site economic development, but they are not included in the benefits cited in response to these Frequently Asked Questions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A 2014 Imagined Walk to the Proposed New DCU Stadium at Buzzard Point

Map of Walk to the Location of the Proposed DC United Stadium in 2014
(Photo: Google Map Modified by Doug Barnes)
This work of narrative fiction was written in July 2014 in response to a DC City Council meeting on the possibility of locating the new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point. After our testimony, one DC City Council member questioned David Rusk and Doug Barnes as to whether fans could access a soccer stadium at Buzzard Point. As a countermeasure, the two season ticket holders, both over sixty, made the walk to the proposed site of the new stadium. This article was an attempt to imagine what it would be like walking to the real stadium that has since opened in 2018.

The actual 2014 walk was not as exciting as the imagined one. We strolled by quiet fields, a noisy junkyard, and a dusty cement mixing business. But the walk made a strong point. A DC United Stadium at Buzzard Point would be a very fan-friendly location. The video of the actual walk was circulated to the City Council, and afterward, no one doubted the viability of Buzzard point as a location for the new stadium. The first part was written by David Rusk and Doug Barnes as a fanpost. The second part was a nice reaction by Adam Taylor, one of the editors of the SB Nation Black and Red United website.

So please read this 2014 fictional narrative and see how close we come to the actual 2018 and onwards DC United game experience.

A Future Walk to the DCU Stadium at Buzzard Point

by David Rusk and Doug Barnes
July 2014

Blinking in the July afternoon sunlight, we emerge from the Navy Yard-Ballpark-Buzzard Point Metro station. We join the DC United supporters groups and other fans assembling at the top of Half Street, SE. An hour before the 3 pm match time (a rare afternoon match to accommodate national TV) the black-and-red crowd swells to several thousand, filling closed-to-traffic Half Street from sidewalk to sidewalk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DC Council's Initial Instructions for Stadium Cost-Benefit Study Would Have Ignored 79% of Future Financial Benefits

DC United Stadium Southwest View Old Rendering, 2014
(Photo: DC United)
by David Rusk and Doug Barnes
July 2014

Ten days ago on June 26, 2014, David Rusk asked the question "Does the DC Council's RFP for outside analysis stack the deck against the proposed DC United stadium deal?"

The answer: Yes ... and how!

Over the 30-year life of the stadium agreement, DC government is projected to receive a Net Present Value of $197 million in taxes and ticket sales-boosted rent. But within only the initial 10 years that the Council RFP instructs the consultant to use, DC would receive only $41 million.

That's ignoring $156 million in revenues --- 79% of the total.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cost-Benefit Study Request by City Council Would Have Undervalued DC United Stadium Benefits

Phil Mendelson at DC City Council Hearing
(Photo: Doug Barnes from City Coucil Website, 2019)
by David Rusk
July 2014

The DC Council has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a consultant to do an independent analysis of the complex transactions involved in the DC government's providing (and owning perpetually) the site for DC United's new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point.

At Thursday's hearing Ward 4 Councilmember and Democratic mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser stated that she had proposed such an RFP to Chairman Phil Mendelson. It is clear that the consultant's independent analysis (due September 12th) will play a major role in the Council's decision regarding the new stadium. It is critical that the consultant's "independent analysis" be conducted in accordance with ground rules that produce a level playing field. In my reading of the RFP, that appears to not be the case on at least one critical point. As witness #65 here is my testimony to the Council (only Chairman Mendelson was present at the time).