Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to DC Sports and Entertainment Commission main page

Major League Baseball Park Site Evaluation Project Report
Brailsford & Dunlavey, et al. to the
DC Sports and Entertainment Commission,
et al.
November 6, 2002




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives

PowerPoint presentation


The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission
The D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for
Planning and Economic Development
The Washington Baseball Club, L.L.C.


Brailsford & Dunlavey, Project Management, Sports Facility Planning, Project Finance
Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn, Urban Design
Heinlein Schrock Stearns, Sports Architecture
Jair Lynch Companies, Real Estate Consulting
Gorove / Slade Associates, Transportation Planning
Justice & Sustainability, Public Outreach

November 6, 2002



[Note: The printed version of the report is profusely illustrated. The illustrations have been omitted from this version.]

Back to top of page


In the Spring of 2002, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and the Washington Baseball Club, L.L.C. commissioned a team of consultants to conduct an evaluation of potential sites for a Major League Baseball park in the District of Columbia and to develop financing concepts for a baseball park project. The selected team, led by Brailsford & Dunlavey and Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, represented a broad range of disciplines and undertook a comprehensive planning-level analysis of the proposed baseball park development. The scope of the study included:
  • A study of the "Best Practices" in baseball park planning;
  • The definition of an architectural program for a baseball park in the market context of the District of Columbia and the development of a prototype ballpark concept;
  • A survey of all possible sites within the District of Columbia of sufficient size for a baseball park;
  • The comparative evaluation of all sites, with regard to suitability for baseball park design, transportation access, parking availability, and other factors;
  • Development of conceptual urban designs for a baseball park and surrounding planning area for the best sites identified;
  • The pro-active solicitation of public input and feedback on the evaluation of sites and development of urban designs;
  • Research on costs for development of a baseball park at each of the sites, including estimates of land acquisition costs and hard and soft costs of construction;
  • Assessment of the economics surrounding the operation of a Major League Baseball park in the District; and,
  • The development and analysis of potential financing concepts for the baseball park.
This report provides the highlights of that study. While the information contained herein is summary in nature, recommendations and estimates in all areas are based on a detailed level of analysis completed by the consultants. Nevertheless, the conceptual nature of this planning exercise has limited the degree to which complete research and analysis is possible, and where appropriate certain qualifications or exclusions are noted.

Back to top of page


The D.C. Major League Baseball Park Site Evaluation Project has been completed. As components of this study, the consulting team has:
  • Developed ten baseball park planning principles drawn from the best practices of recently completed Major League Baseball parks that highlight favorable dynamics of locating baseball parks in an urban setting;
  • Recommended a baseball park program tailored to the Washington, D.C. market and highlighted by a 41,000 seat capacity, including 90 suites and 2,000 club seats, with 1,100 spaces of on-site parking for team and premium seat-holder use, and all of the elements considered essential to a modern baseball park;
  • Assimilated civic and business community input received through numerous communication channels, including two televised public forums attended by over 400 interested people and in excess of 16,000 hits on a consultant website created and dedicated to the site evaluation project;
  • Identified and presented concept plans for five attractive baseball park sites that, based on planning level analysis, will accommodate the recommended baseball park program and offer strong opportunities for a baseball park development and positive economic impact; and,
  • Completed sufficient economic analysis to demonstrate substantial favorable prospects for financing baseball park construction through revenues arising from the return of Major League Baseball to the Nation's Capital, while also ensuring financially successful MLB team operations.

Back to top of page


As--the-southernmost link in the chain of cities that comprise the, densely populated Northeast Corridor, Washington D.C. is part of the largest geographically contiguous mega-market in the United States; and yet, its proximity and ease of access to cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia cannot cloud the fact that Washington, independent of any other northeastern city, is the center of one of the largest and healthiest markets in America and is regarded as one of the great cities of the world.


Major League Baseball has changed significantly since the Washington Senators left the District of Columbia in 1971. Since that time, Washington has changed dramatically as well. Once known as a sleepy government town and described jokingly as operating with "Northern charm and Southern efficiency," Washington at the turn of the 21 St Century has become a ,vibrant and diversified city and the hub of industries of the future. A brief review of key statistics tells the story:
  • Since 1960, the metropolitan Washington population has more than doubled to 4.9 million and is now the fifth largest in the nation. The region is projected to surpass Philadelphia to rank fourth by 2005.
  • The market's $66,184 median household income has increased from $35,530 in 1970 and now ranks second in the U.S. and highest among the ten most populous markets.
  • The market's Effective Buying Income (or "disposable income") at just over $57,000 is the eighth highest in the nation and the highest among the ten most populous markets.
  • Washington's federal government employment as a percent of total employment has steadily decreased from 40% in 1951, to 27% in 1971, and further to 11% in 2001.
  • The Washington area's total workforce expanded from 815,000 in 1968 to over 1.7 million in 1998, a 111 /a increase. Of the new jobs created during the same time period, 95% were in the private sector.
  • Of the National Capital region's 110 million square feet of commercial space, over 44 million square feet has been built since 1985. The Washington office market Is currently the third largest in the nation.
  • In current dollars, the District's gross product has grown from $15 billion in 1977 to over $59 billion in 2000. The gross regional product has experienced similar growth, rising from $107 billion in 1980 to the fourth largest in the country at $280 billion.
  • Today, approximately 22 million people visit Washington, D.C. every year for tourism and commerce, spending approximately $5.9 billion.
The tremendous growth of the Washington metropolitan area in the past three decades has reinforced and enhanced the District's position as the residential and economic core of the region. For the nearly five million people in the market, D.C. is the geographic center for the residential base and is more densely populated than any other area in the region.

Washington is still best known as the capital of the United States, but it is important to note that only approximately 11% of the region's employment is created by the federal government; the remainder is dispersed broadly across a diverse range of industries such as: 

  • Financial, insurance and real estate
  • Telecommunications
  • Media
  • Legal services
  • Business services
  • Education and management services
  • Health services
  • High technology
The Washington region has been the home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other metropolitan area for the past five years. Some of the leading corporate citizens include:

Capital One Financial Corporation
AOL Time Warner
Nextel Communications, Inc.
General Dynamics Corporation
Marriott International
The Washington Post Company
Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) 
Bearing Point (formerly KPMG Consulting, Inc.) 
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) 
Lockheed Martin Corporation 
Gannett Company 
CACI International, Inc.

Many of the emerging business leaders in recent years have included some of the most recognizable names in high technology. Even in the wake of the technology sector downturn of the last two years, the D.C. area remains one of the most vibrant high-tech communities in the country.

Washington is also one of the great media centers of the world. Every major media and news organization from around the globe has a presence in D.C., from American television networks and newspapers to international news agencies.


The statistics are simple - Washington is by far the largest new market available to Major League Baseball. But the wealth and stability of the D.C. market must be noted as well. Washington offers:

  • A higher average salary than any state 
  • A metropolitan area including four of the ten highest-ranked counties in the country in disposable income 
  • A total effective buying income ("disposable" income) of $123 billion 
  • Nearly $6 billion spent annually by visitors to the region

The economic health of the Washington metropolitan area has consistently proven resilient. While the events of September 11 were predicted to have a devastating effect on the regional economy, the city is in the midst of a development boom. Combining all projects recently completed, under construction, or currently proposed, new development in the District of Columbia alone includes:

  • More than 560 projects 
  • Nearly $25 billion in investment 
  • Major initiatives such as the 2.3 million square foot D.C. Convention Center (which, at the time of its completion, will be the sixth largest in the nation) 
  • Developments within every geographic sub-market of the city 
  • Developments in every market segment including residential, retail, office, and others


While the District of Columbia has grown according to the grand visions of the original 1791 Pierre L'Enfant Plan for the city and the later 1901 McMillan Plan, giving the downtown core a sense of classical order and monumental beauty renowned throughout the world, the city's economic growth into the metropolitan area has followed a more natural radial pattern.

The centrality of the District in this pattern has always been acknowledged and reinforced in its transportation systems, most notably the famed Beltway interstate highway system, which encircles the city and connects the entirety of the metropolitan area to downtown via spokes such as Interstates 295, 395, and 66.

Other major regional roads provide similar radial connections from the suburbs to the center of D.C.:

  • From Virginia, both south and west: Routes 1, 7, 29, and 50 and the George Washington Parkway
  • From the northwestern suburbs: Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues and 16th Street
  • From the northeastern and southeastern suburbs: Rhode Island, New York, and Pennsylvania Avenues

Precious few of America's largest cities have remained so centralized and well connected to their urban core during the onset of the automobile age.
Washington is served by three major international airports and rail lines that connect the city from Union Station to the rest of the continent.

Clearly, however, the great triumph of transportation planning in the region has been the creation of the Metrorail mass transit system. Metro is quite simply the cleanest, most efficient, and one of the most broadly used subway systems in the nation. Metro experiences ridership of more than 750,000 per day, and Washingtonians are universally familiar with and proud of the system. Among daily commuter trips to Washington, D.C., nearly 45% are supported by the Metro public transit system. A cursory glance at the layout of Metro's 103 miles of lines illustrates the emphasis placed on transporting people from peripheral communities into the downtown heart of the region -- swiftly, easily, and inexpensively.


While metropolitan Washington has seen tremendous residential, retail, and office growth, it has never detracted from the city's role as the heart of entertainment and culture for the entire region. Few places in the world can compete with the wealth of cultural and entertainment offerings in the Nation's Capital, including:

  • The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 
  • The many museums of the Smithsonian Institution 
  • The National Gallery of Art 
  • The MCI Center arena, home of the NBA Washington Wizards, NHL Washington Capitals and WNBA Washington Mystics 
  • RFK Stadium, home of the MLS D.C. United and WUSA Washington Freedom 
  • The many treasures of our nation's history and the federal government, such as the National Archives and Library of Congress.

But the true attractions of Washington for residents of the entire region are its diverse lifestyle offerings. While outstanding restaurants and nightclubs are sprinkled across our region, the vast majority of fine dining, dance clubs, music halls, cultural festivals, and other attractions are all located in the District. Urban shopping destinations such as Georgetown have remained vibrant in the face of competition from suburban malls. D.C. offers 35 luxury hotels with an inventory of more than 14,000 rooms suitable for use by visiting professional teams. Indeed, the NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals acknowledged the importance of being part of the mix of city attractions in deciding to move to downtown with the opening of MCI Center five years ago.


Much has been made of the proximity of the Washington market to Baltimore - an existing American League market. Although it is true that the two cities are 45 miles apart, they are economically, demographically, and culturally as distinct from one another as are any other two MLB cities in the Northeast Corridor. All of the statistics quoted in this report represent the Washington metropolitan market, exclusive of Baltimore. Washington and Baltimore are recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau as two independent Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and their television and radio markets are completely exclusive of one another. The combined markets represent a population nearly as large as that of Chicago, which supports two MLB franchises. Perhaps the Baltimore Sun put it best in an editorial: "The Baltimore-Washington region remains two distinct entities, both large and prosperous enough to support their own baseball and football teams. It would be a sound rivalry."


It is clear that Major League Baseball and Washington, D.C. offer much to one another and that opportunities are being lost to each from a lack of association.

From an economic standpoint, Washington represents a first-tier market waiting to be tapped. The D.C. area's wealth and economic stability offer a uniquely promising investment opportunity for Major League Baseball - one that cannot be properly capitalized upon by any existing MLB franchise because of their distance and cultural associations with other cities. There is currently no ballpark where the many children of the D.C. area - hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential future fans - can travel to a ballgame on mass transit or by foot.

From a cultural standpoint, the national pastime currently lacks any association with the Nation's Capital. Baseball's place in American culture argues that the sport deserves a home among the other treasures of Washington, D.C. There is no ballpark where the President of the United States and every member of Congress can, on the whim of a summer evening, appear unexpectedly to take in a ballgame in the city from which they govern the nation.

This report outlines the possibilities for Major League Baseball and the city of Washington, D.C. to capitalize on such opportunities.

Back to top of page


To initiate the D.C. Major League Baseball Park Site Evaluation Project, the client group asked the consultant team to search the District for appropriate sites for a new baseball park that would meet the high standard of other successful baseball parks developed for Major League Baseball teams over the last decade. To achieve this, the consultants sought out sites:
  • Where a Major League Baseball franchise can financially succeed; and,
  • Whose use for a baseball park would advance a long-term vision of the District.
To ensure that the Site Evaluation Project was fully informed by the successes of Major League Baseball in other cities, the consultants were asked to begin this project with a study of the "Best Practices" in baseball park development. This research encompassed a review of all Major League Baseball parks built over the last decade to identify planning elements that served (or detracted from) the achievement of maximum revenue potential for the MLB franchise and contributed to the greater development objectives of its host city. From this study, ten principles were derived and deemed representative of the "Best Practices" in baseball park planning. These principles were refined with input from the client group as well as the general public after discussion in a televised public forum.


  • Plan a capacity appropriate to the market
  • Locate adjacent to promising development districts
  • Locate to take advantage of unique landmarks or civic treasures
  • Choose a location oriented toward existing and planned future transit opportunities
  • Plan with respect for the city's grid
  • Allow fan circulation and ancillary enterprises outside the building footprint
  • Orient the baseball park in relation to surrounding urban uses
  • Disperse parking to various garages and lots within walking distance off-site
  • Master plan for positive and compatible development in the area around the baseball park
  • Plan for maximization of attendance and revenue opportunities


Major League Baseball has demonstrated, over the last decade, that its games are best presented in venues built specifically for baseball, with a smaller capacity than those typically provided in the large multi-use stadiums built in the 1960s and 1970s. Baseball's leisurely pace and emphasis on the balance between individual athletic achievement and teamwork asks for an intimate setting, where as many fans as possible can develop a sense of personal connection to the activities on the field. On a purely economic basis, it is also a wise investment to provide only enough seating capacity for the size of the fan base that can be attracted to 81 home games over the course of a regular season. Seating capacities from 38,000 to 48,000 have been demonstrated to be reasonable for this model in markets of all sizes.


New baseball parks have proven to be powerful economic tools in enhancing the vitality of America's cities; correspondingly, the creation of entertainment districts around baseball parks, encompassing dining, nightspots, and other forms of entertainment, have been shown to serve a supportive role for the business of the baseball park itself. In addition, the proximity of core urban real estate uses such as office and residential properties greatly support the creation of a solid and accessible fan base. However, it is economically infeasible for any baseball park project to support the creation of an entire mixed-use district around itself. These districts have been seen to emerge most rapidly, and baseball parks have been most successful in contributing to their creation, where the baseball parks have been sited as components of broad urban development efforts that encompass several complementary initiatives and market trends and promise the emergence of a new mixeduse district with the baseball park as one of its anchors. Baseball parks are consequently best sited in locations where other major entertainment, tourism, commercial and residential initiatives have already been advanced or where new development is otherwise primed to occur.


All sports rely on a sense of fan loyalty, and that loyalty stems as much from fans' love of the home town as it does from their love of the team and its traditions. Sports teams can strengthen their relationship with fans both by leveraging team identity, through logos and featured players, and by creating connections to a sense of place. Baseball, more than any other sport, has found opportunities to capitalize on the unique views from within its venues to the surrounding environment to maintain a sense of connection between the game and the fans' home region. Whether the view beyond the outfield wall encompasses a downtown skyline or distant mountains, the opportunity to link the team to the region should not be lost during the gameday presentation.


Attendance is maximized, in part, by providing convenient baseball park access to the broadest area of the market. Moreover, no matter how great a city's road systems may be, and no matter how much parking is provided in proximity to the baseball park, traffic is certain to be the most significant obstacle to fan attendance at games - an obstacle that may, in many cases, be enough of a nuisance to keep fans away. In contrast with suburban venues, the most successful urban baseball parks have capitalized on mass transit opportunities to the greatest degree possible. Future mass transit opportunities must also be anticipated as a baseball park can be expected to last a generation (or, if this generation's planners are as successful as those of some of the earliest baseball parks, even longer). As a result, baseball park siting should place a great emphasis on proximity to existing transit systems and to likely locations of future systems.


The failure of urban renewal efforts in American cities during the 1950s and 1960s illustrated at least one key lesson: the wholesale clearing of multiple city blocks and the eradication of the streets that ran between them to make way for grand modernist developments were likely to result in environments so sterile that they impeded economic development as much as the blight they were designed to replace. This lesson held true whether the new development was a steel and glass office tower on a windswept concrete plaza or a circular concrete stadium surrounded by acres of parking. We know from fan affection for the baseball parks of the early 20'h Century that ballparks serve as greater attractions for fans when they offer architectural character, a unique game experience, and a strong connection to the surrounding City fabric. Recent baseball park developments show that all of these aspects are enhanced when the site is defined with respect for the existing and historic street grids of the city, rather than imposing the baseball park on the city as a "superblock." As much as possible, baseball parks should be planned to fit the geometry of the city, rather than vice versa.


Every day, modern baseball parks are pushing the boundaries of creativity in the presentation of food concepts and merchandising. Meanwhile, baseball park planners are seeking opportunities for the venue to contribute energy to their surrounding neighborhoods even on non-game days, and cities are seeking "365 day a year" utility from the facilities. The finest examples of the connections between a baseball park and the city around occur when the retail, food, and entertainment enterprises of the baseball park are configured in such a way as to seamlessly connect to the adjacent streets and neighborhoods. Whether this is achieved simply by locating these enterprises in such a way that they can serve the street front, as is the case with Pittsburgh's PNC Park, or by architectural elements as innovative as Oriole Park's Eutaw Street, the creation of such features offers tremendous opportunity to enhance both the revenue potential for the baseball park and the street life for the city.


The various aspects of a ballpark's exterior can be used in such a way as to relate well to neighboring urban conditions. The heavy walls behind the baseline are better suited to run along dense commercial corridors, while a nearby residential neighborhood might relate best to the scale of a lighter outfield wall. The impacts of light and sound from the baseball park are less significant to some nearby real estate uses, such as entertainment and tourist attractions, as they are on others, such as a hotel property. Some architectural elements of a baseball park, such as a prominent home-plate entrance gate or streetfront facades, can work in tandem with nearby buildings or open public spaces to create unique urban environments. Careful consideration must be given to the siting and orientation of the baseball park with the implications of these urban conditions in mind.


Large scale surface parking lots, whether they are in use or not, serve as 'dead zones' in the fabric of a city, preventing economic benefits from one adjacent urban element (such as a baseball park) from reaching surrounding properties. While adequate parking must be provided to serve the many fans who will travel to games by car rather than mass transit, the baseball park should not be separated from the surrounding city by acres of surface parking; rather, parking should be provided in dispersed areas within a short walking distance of the baseball park. This strategy will achieve two benefits: first, traffic congestion will be minimized before and - after games as fans ::gal arrive at and depart from assorted parking locations in different areas, each with their own alternative routes; and second, even those fans who drive will be encouraged to share a pedestrian experience through the neighborhood surrounding the baseball park, enhancing the positive economic impact of the fans' presence in downtown.


While it is important to locate the baseball park near a promising district, it is equally important to plan the area around the baseball park for development compatible with the baseball park use. A master plan for the baseball park neighborhood might include a full mix of entertainment, retail, commercial, and, where appropriate, residential uses, but all of these must be orchestrated in a way that contributes to the fan experience while enhancing the vitality of the surrounding urban area. 


Modern baseball parks are distinguished from their earlier predecessors primarily in their potential to maximize revenue through enhanced fan comforts, the creation of an entertainment environment, and the enhancement of the guest experience. Wider concourses, more commodious seating, plentiful restrooms, a greater range of differentiated seating types (including suites and club seats), more diversified food service offerings, accessibility for the handicapped, and all the other key features of modern baseball parks must be assumed to be included within the program of any facility planned today. In any possible way not contemplated in the previous nine points, the plan for the baseball park must work to maximize likely attendance and provide the baseball franchise with every modern opportunity for revenue generation. 

Back to top of page


No attempt has been made to design a baseball park during the course of this project, as it would be premature to initiate architectural design prior to the selection of a site and the negotiation of formal agreements between the various public and private entities that will ultimately be involved in the baseball park's development. Nevertheless, the very evaluation of sites depends on some definition of the nature of the baseball park to be accommodated.

The consulting team has therefore developed an outline program and a prototype plan and section for the proposed D.C. Major League Baseball park. This program was developed based on the ten Baseball Park Planning Principles detailed in the previous section, and with consideration of a statistical analysis of the D.C. market, addressing population demographics and the corporate market as well as the number of existing and planned stadium and arena facilities. Although this analysis encompassed neither a comprehensive market study nor a detailed architectural programming exercise, the major economic factors and planning standards applied were sufficient to yield useful parameters for testing sites.


The D.C. Major League Baseball park will be a thoroughly modern facility, equipped with all of the revenue generating amenities necessary to create a financially successful environment for a MLB franchise. The baseball park will take advantage of all of the latest technological and architectural features to create a unique and positive fan experience, maximize the income potential to the team, and generate economic spin-off benefits to the surrounding areas of the city. Major features of the facility include:
  • A natural turf playing field surface designed for 325-340 feet dimensions at the right and left field foul lines, 370-390 feet at the power alleys, 400-415 feet at center field, and 54-56 feet behind home plate.
  • Approximately 41,000-seat capacity in five general categories:
Lower Deck Seating 20,350 Seats
Bleacher Seating 4,350 Seats
Club Seating 2,000 Seats
Suite Seating in 90 Suites 1,200 Seats
Upper Deck Seating 13,100 Seats
  • 1,100 on-site parking spaces for players, team administration, media, and premium seat holders.1


The baseball park will include all of the site, spectator, service, marketing, administrative, and other spaces that are known to be desirable in Major League Baseball parks. In addition, the program includes sufficient area for a variety of fan amenities and enterprises whose specific nature has not yet been finalized. While these elements may include such attractions as a museum, a hall of fame, interactive entertainment, restaurants and nightspots, their precise makeup will be determined as design is undertaken in earnest. Known program elements include:

Spectator Facilities 

Food and Beverage Service
Team Store/Merchandise Kiosks
Luxury Suites

81 12-Person Private Suites 
6 24-Person Group Suites
3 20-Person Owner Suites (Owner, City, President of the United States)

Ticket Windows 
Public Washrooms 

Interactive Arcade 
Promotion Storage 
First Aid
Hall of Fame / Museum 

Event Presentation Technology/Sponsorship Opportunities 

Scoreboards and Videoboards
Signage and Other Sponsorship Opportunities 
Sound System 

Building Components

Public Facilities

Public Telephones
Drinking Fountains
Advertising Program
Vertical Circulation
ADA Compliance

Broadcast and Media Facilities
Administrative Facilities
Security Systems
Fan Accommodations

Clubhouse and Related Facilities

Ballpark Service Facilities
Playing Field Facilities
Employee Services

Site Requirements

Vehicular Circulation
Pedestrian Circulation

Back to top of page


Washington, D.C., as both the Nation's Capital and the center of the fifth largest market in the United States, is a rich and complex urban environment. Steeped in the trappings of history and bejeweled with national monuments, the District reflects the overlapping dynamics of a diverse economy and the influence of the federal government. This type of urban environment dictates that a thorough and comprehensive investigation of all potential Major League Baseball park development opportunities within the District's 63 square miles be completed. The evaluation of such sites must take into consideration not only the constantly evolving characteristics of the D.C. real estate market, but also the unique attributes that make the District an ideal market for a Major League Baseball franchise - such as one of the most extensive and easy-to-use mass transit systems in the world. The evaluation must also consider the thought and input of a variety of Washington's diverse constituents, including residents, business leaders, political leaders, religious leaders, and many others.


To evaluate potential sites for the D.C. Major League Baseball park, the consulting team completed an exhaustive survey of all possible locations within the city that either currently represent or, could be assembled into parcels of the ten to fifteen acres necessary to accommodate the baseball park program outlined in the previous section. This survey, conducted with background research on ownership of properties, yielded more than thirty potential sites.

The identified candidate sites were subjected to a rigorous analysis based on a detailed set of evaluative criteria. These criteria included:

  • General Design Opportunities (site shape, potential baseball park orientation)
  • Access (regional highway systems, Metro, commuter rail)
  • Parking (existing or developable)
  • Impact on Existing Communities (non-displacement of residents)
  • Parcel Availability (public vs. private ownership, number of owners)
  • Site Issues (known environmental or soil conditions)
  • Regulatory Issues (local zoning or federal oversight agencies)
  • Economic Development / Return on Investment Potential (public and private)
  • Cost (acquisition and construction)
From this analysis, the most promising sites were identified and subjected to successive rounds of more detailed technical research. Ultimately, five sites emerged as representing the most ideal conditions for development of a baseball park.

These five sites were then the subjects of a detailed urban design study. For each site, a planning area was delineated and multiple test fits were conducted exploring a variety of potential specific locations and orientations for the prototype baseball park design. From these initial test fits, the most promising diagram for each site was then further developed into urban design concepts encompassing the baseball park, support spaces, and ancillary development for the entire planning area.


The project team pro-actively created several opportunities for public input throughout the course of the study. When the Best Practices research had been completed and the Baseball Park Planning Principles had been outlined, an open public forum was held on June 18, 2002 in an auditorium at Howard University Hospital, the historic site of Griffith Stadium. This forum was televised city-wide, and attended by more than 125 people. It provided opportunities for the public to give feedback on the Planning Principles and help to shape the Site Evaluation Criteria that were soon to be used to begin analyzing specific sites.

Following the first public forum, a website link (www.publicspace.justiceandsustainability.com) was established to share public information on the project and provide an avenue for comment by email. This website was updated throughout the course of the project and comments received from the public were collected and forwarded to the consulting team for consideration. Links to the website were created from each of the client partners' websites. In addition, numerous phone calls and emails received from the consulting or client teams were distributed and incorporated in the analysis.

A second opportunity for the public to interact personally with the consulting team, and in particular the city's design and development community, was through a presentation made at the National Building Museum on August 21, 2002. At this event, attended by approximately 100 people, representatives of the project team outlined the number of sites that had been subjected to evaluation, the criteria by which they were being evaluated, and comments were solicited from the public.

Finally, on October 2, 2002, a televised public forum was held at the Martin Luther King Library. At this meeting, the consultants presented the five sites proposed for final consideration and the urban design concepts developed for each. Attendance at this event exceeded 275 and, once again, comments were solicited from the public.

A number of- key themes emerged clearly from these public interactions. Many questions and comments from the public related to the impacts of the baseball park on the neighborhoods nearby the proposed sites, and there was indeed opposition voiced to some of the sites. There were also questions and comments about the use of public funding for the ballpark project. However, the overwhelming sentiment expressed at each forum was a desire to have Major League Baseball return to the District, and the public forums were extremely useful in identifying the level of public support for each of the separate sites.

Back to top of page


The consulting team has identified five sites within the District of Columbia, each of which offers the potential to accommodate one of the most accessible, distinctive, and successful ballparks in Major League Baseball. Each of these sites represents a strategically distinct type of baseball park development opportunity. They are listed here (and presented later in this section) in alphabetical order:

Capitol North: Capitol Hill and D.C.'s Monumental Core

M Street Southeast: Waterfront

Mt. Vernon Triangle: Downtown Entertainment Zone

New York Avenue Metro: Gateway to the City

RFK Stadium: Traditional Sports and Entertainment Center of the Region


All of the five sites are conveniently accessible from the interstate highways and other major road systems. As discussed elsewhere in this report, the entire Washington metropolitan area is served by roads whose predominant pattern is to link the suburban peripheries to downtown; however, downtown D.C. offers particularly good access to Northern Virginia and other markets to the south (such as Richmond and Hampton Roads) by virtue of the fact that Interstate 395, which is an extension of Interstate 95 to the south and connects to Interstate 66 to the west, terminates in the center of downtown Washington. All five of the sites are close to exits from Interstate 395 or its termination point, and M Street Southeast and RFK Stadium are similarly adjacent to Interstate 295.


All five sites are accessible by Metro - perhaps the most successful and well-used mass transit system available to a newly-built Major League Baseball park anywhere in the U.S. Metro serves the entire D.C. metropolitan area, connecting the suburbs to downtown in a single continuous system. All of the sites are within easy walking distance of at least one Metro station, multiple lines serve some, and others are proximate to commuter rail stations.


In addition to the region's existing transit system, the view to the future includes consideration of light rail. Each of the five recommended sites also offers proximity to light rail lines' as contemplated in current studies for the proposed system.


Each of the sites also offers a contribution to furthering existing development initiatives of the District and has an opportunity both to catalyze and capitalize on future growth opportunities. The location of the sites relative to the city's major development initiatives illustrates their potential.


Washington is unique among first-tier cities in the height limit imposed by its zoning regulations and federal law, a feature which many believe ensures the beauty of the city anti preserves vistas to the U.S. Capitol dome. However, these regulations mean that large structures often struggle to work within the 90-foot or 110-foot (depending on the location) height limit. All of the five sites enable the field level to be constructed below existing grade, allowing fans to enter at concourse level and providing a baseball park that complies with the District's height restrictions.


The following pages provide summary findings of the detailed analysis of the five sites recommended by the consulting team as representing outstanding opportunities for the development of a Major League Baseball park in the District of Columbia.

Each site is represented in three diagrams, illustrating the site's location in the city; its relationship to major highway, road, and mass transit (Metro) access; and one possible planning concept for the baseball park and a surrounding planning area. The urban design concepts illustrate the potential development of the surrounding planning area for uses compatible with the baseball park and the development goals of the District. These uses include parking as projected to be required on each site, depending on such factors as the inventory of existing parking within walking distance and the level of service to the site by alternative means of transportation such as Metro.

In each case, the site planning concept must be recognized as representing only one of many different possible scenarios with regard to the precise location and orientation of the baseball park. Moreover, in each case, surrounding collateral development opportunities have been defined only loosely in order to assess the potential economic and fiscal impact of the baseball park on a nearby affected planning area. It is expected that both the baseball park and the surrounding planning area would be the subjects of far greater design study once the project is moved into implementation and a single site is chosen.


The opportunity to construct a major venue adjacent to Washington's monumental core is rare. This chance exists at the Capitol North site largely by virtue of the modest baseball park scale and flexible dimensions implied in the Baseball Park Planning Principles identified in 'this report. This site offers possible views from inside the baseball park to some of the most famous landmarks in the world, such as the dome of the U.S. Capitol, and is in easy walking distance from extensive downtown parking structures and multiple Metro stations at Union Station, where commuter rail lines such as Virginia Rail Express (VRE) terminate. It is also a short walk from the District's newest emerging tourism and entertainment zone, centered on the 2.3 million square foot D.C. Convention Center set to open in 2003, the MCI Center, the Chinatown neighborhood, and a rich diversity of restaurants, hotels, and nightspots.

The Capitol North study area is located at the eastern edge of the existing downtown, in an emerging commercial district along Massachusetts Avenue between Union Station to the east and the new Convention Center to the west. The area is the focus of intense development activity ranging from the renovation of Postal Square adjacent to Union Station to new residential projects along Massachusetts Avenue. Immediately east of the site and with frontage on North Capitol Street are Gonzaga College High School and the historic buildings of the U.S. Government Printing Office. To the west is the termination of Interstate 395, select residential properties, and the Mt. Vernon neighborhood.


The urban design plan for Capitol North assumes a baseball park with a southeastward orientation such that the outfield wall may open to views of the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The site plan preserves the major arterial of H Street immediately to the south and locates the baseball park between two important streets of the L'Enfant Plan, New York Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, leaving a number of interstitial parcels open for complementary development.


  • Adjacent to Union Station and associated tourist attractions.
  • Walking distance to downtown Central Business District, Convention Center, and Chinatown neighborhood.
  • Proximate to Washington's monumental core.
  • Excellent access to I-395, Metro, and Union Station commuter rail.
  • Views of Capitol dome beyond outfield wall.
  • Reconnects contiguous development parcels currently interrupted by I-395 air rights.


  • Would require the closing or re-routing of New Jersey Avenue.
  • Air rights construction over I-395 required for support uses.
  • Would require relocation of select residential properties.


Two major development trends coincide to create a unique waterfront development opportunity in the heart of an area already re-inventing itself. While the Potomac is the river most popularly associated with Washington, the Anacostia River also runs through the city; and while no major development sites remain on the Potomac, the city is working to take advantage of the Anacostia River. Through the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the District is working to beautify the river edge and activate it with a series of parks and public amenities to create a continuous set of pedestrian linkages along the river's length. Meanwhile, the immediate neighborhood of this proposed site is being transformed as the Department of the Navy consolidates its operations center at the Washington Navy Yard and, further, requiring many of the Department's major contractors to locate offices within a specified walking distance of the Navy Yard. New Class A office development is already in evidence and numerous other projects are in the planning stages.

The M Street Southeast study area is adjacent to South Capitol Street on the west and, on the east, the Southeast Federal Center, planned to become a mixed-use residential, retail and office development, and targeted for the relocation of several federal agency headquarters. Beyond the Southeast Federal Center is the Washington Navy Yard. Along M Street the new Capper Hope VI project is being developed with mixed-income residential land uses and complementary commercial space. The site is served directly by Metro's green line at M Street and is connected to regional Interstates 395 and 295 via South Capitol Street and the Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge, respectively.


The urban design for this site proposes a direct connection to the waterfront, linking the Southeast Federal Center and other elements of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative via an esplanade. There is substantial space for major development of complementary uses around the baseball' park, and the opportunity to create a grand public space connecting the baseball park to the Metro station and major vehicular approach at M Street. Possibly a pedestrian mall lined with trees, this grand space could serve as both a festive pedestrian approach to the baseball park on gamedays and other public uses throughout the year.


  • Highly visible and accessible from the regional interstate system. 
  • Excellent visibility from South Capitol Street with views of the Capitol and waterfront. 
  • Direct connections to new Southeast Federal Center development and the planned Anacostia Waterfront Riverwalk.
  • Excellent potential for large-scale redevelopment planned in conjunction with a new ballpark.


  • Possible cost premium for water table issues.


The part of Washington that has seen the most development over the last five years has clearly been the area centering on Mt. Vernon Square. To the north of the square, the new 2.3 million square foot D.C. Convention Center will open in 2003, while a few blocks to the south is the MCI Center. Neighborhoods between the two projects, including Chinatown, have seen a remarkable renaissance of restaurants, hotels, and nightspots, not to mention such eclectic interests as the newly opened Spy Museum. Clearly, this area has become the new entertainment zone of the city.

The Mt. Vernon Triangle study area is located west of Interstate 395 between the historic diagonal streets of New York and Massachusetts Avenues. The area is approximately midway between Union Station and the new Convention Center and is located four blocks north and east of the Chinatown/ MCI Center neighborhood. The north edge of the site is bounded by the Shaw neighborhood and the south edge is currently being developed with new mixed-use properties. The site is within convenient walking distance of several Metro stations, providing access to all five of the system's lines.


The urban design for this site suggests a southeastward oriented baseball, park, fit snugly in the block between K Street and Massachusetts Avenue. This orientation provides for outfield views toward the Capitol dome and presents a direct streetfront presence on Massachusetts Avenue, a short walk from the Convention Center to the west and Union Station to the east.


  • Excellent access from I-395 and multiple Metro lines.
  • Adjacent to new Convention Center and Chinatown.
  • Easy walking distance to downtown Central Business District.
  • Strong presence along Massachusetts Avenue.
  • Easy walking distance to monumental core.
  • Reconnects contiguous development parcels currently disrupted by I-395 air rights.


  • Requires relocation of commercial property.
  • Ongoing competing development initiatives may limit duration of site availability.
  • Highest land costs of the five sites.


The New York Avenue Metro site offers the opportunity for the baseball park to extend the definition of downtown and serve as the gateway to the city's formal core from the major approach along New York Avenue. Located at the corner of New York Avenue and North Capitol Street, northeast of the Central Business District near the cluster of office development around Union Station, the site is in an area already seeing substantial commercial development. It also offers perhaps the most dramatic views of the baseball park of any of the sites, as New York Avenue is elevated as it approaches from the northeast, offering sweeping views to approaching motorists of the entire baseball park and the panorama of downtown Washington beyond, with the Washington Monument punctuating the vista.

The New York Avenue Metro study area includes the area south of New York Avenue and east of North Capitol Street, immediately north of Union Station. The District has targeted the properties for new, mixed-use development and a new station on Metro's red line is being constructed on the site. The site provides a prominent gateway location for fans arriving from the east along New York Avenue and is three blocks east of Interstate 395. The north edge of the site is marked by new high-tech office development and residential neighborhoods are located to the east and west. The study area is well serviced by public transportation with Metro, Amtrak, and commuter rail stations at Union Station.


The urban design for this site imagines a northeastward orientation and direct presence on New York Avenue, with architectural elements establishing a gateway to downtown from the eastern approach to the city. Grand public promenades are conceived to connect the baseball park to nearby Metro stations and Union Station, only an eight-minute walk to the south. There is extensive opportunity for compatible collateral development around the site.


  • Gateway to the heart of Washington and the monumental core from the east. 
  • Short walk to Union Station and a new Metro station. 
  • Views to the Capitol and monumental core. 
  • Opportunities for series of grand public spaces, including promenade from Union Station.
  • Street-level activity along concourse facing onto major boulevard and open spaces.


  • Would require demolition of existing structures to create major street frontage on New York Avenue.


If there is one place where Washingtonians are familiar with attending events, it is surely Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The home of the NFL Washington Redskins until 1996 and currently home of the MLS D.C. United and WUSA Washington Freedom, the RFK campus, including the stadium and the D.C. Armory, has been the venue for most of the largest sports events, concerts, and family entertainment in the D.C. region for the last 40 years, including MLB's Washington Senators from 1962 to 1971.

The RFK campus is located on the western bank of the Anacostia River on the axis of East Capitol Street. A majority of the site is utilized for surface parking lots to the north and south of the stadium and immediately to the west. The north and south edges of the study area are bounded by parkland, the west edge by dense, single-family housing, and the east edge by the Anacostia River. The site is readily accessible from Interstates 295 and 395 and is directly served by a Metro at the Stadium / Armory station.


The urban design for the site assumes a location that would allow for the new baseball park to be constructed without impeding the use of the existing RFK Stadium as an interim facility for a MLB franchise. The baseball park is oriented to capitalize on views toward the river and the parkland enhancements conceived as part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. Perhaps most important to note is the vast amount of land (currently used as surface parking) available on the site that provides unparalleled opportunity for complementary development. An entire mixed-use district supportive of the baseball park could be created with the land resources available at this site. Such use of the site will require consideration with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service, the owner of the land from which the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission holds a long-term lease.


  • Property known as traditional sports and entertainment center for the region. 
  • Existing slope can be utilized in seating bowl design with entry at concourse level. 
  • Open views to river and connection to planned Anacostia Riverwalk.
  • Opportunity for a mixed-use neighborhood development adjacent to Metro station.


  • Consideration with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service would need to be explored to allow for ancillary development.

Back to top of page


The consultants have completed a thorough analysis of the development and operating economics of the proposed D.C. Major League Baseball park. Based on this analysis, the consulting team has made a recommendation that the proposed Major League Baseball park be financed through a public-private partnership that leverages net new revenues created by the return of Major League Baseball to Washington, D.C. The following pages provide estimates of the development costs for a baseball park at each of the five recommended sites, followed by a discussion of the variety of net new revenues that may be created by the return of baseball to the District.

This discussion is intended to highlight the analysis completed by the consultants using detailed financial modeling and is, therefore, summary and illustrative in nature. In particular, the use of a Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization is admittedly a theoretical construct representing a financing obligation that is not yet known. No specific combination of debt and equity financing or public and private participation has been determined, as it would be imprudent to finalize such formulae prior to clarification of the terms under which a Major League Baseball franchise would be relocated to the District. The Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization is represented as though the project will be 100% debt financed, although a variety of different financing components are likely to be employed in the final financial structure. Because the nature of this structure is not determined, the Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization is quoted as a direct amortization cost with no debt coverage ratio applied.

It must also be acknowledged that it is impossible for the consulting team to project the legal and economic conditions under which Major League Baseball franchises will operate following the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2006; however, in order to analyze the potential to finance baseball park construction, it is essential to analyze total revenues and total expenses in a stabilized operating year for the baseball park. The most aggressive schedule for the construction of the D.C. Major League Baseball park would dictate a 2006 opening and achievement of the first stabilized year no sooner than 2008. The analysis contained herein therefore describes development costs estimated to a mid-point of construction in 2005, while the discussion of operating revenue and expense figures are based on figures projected for a stabilized year of 2008. These operating figures are extrapolated from current Major League Baseball operating information, and no attempt has been made to address the potential future terms of revenue sharing or a collective bargaining agreement.


Cost estimates have been developed for the construction of the baseball park described in this report at each of the five sites recommended. These estimates are conceptual (appropriate to the conceptual nature of the planning developed to date) but are intended to be both comprehensive and conservative. As such, the total project costs may appear higher than figures frequently quoted, for other baseball parks. Any comparison of these costs to those for other baseball park projects must recognize that the figures in this report encompass all baseball park construction costs (both hard costs of construction and soft costs such as design and financing fees) and land acquisition costs (including the necessary purchase of land and relocation of some existing uses). Many budgets quoted for other baseball park projects do not include land acquisition, soft costs of construction, or other related costs (such as on-site parking or concessionaire equipment).

The estimates of hard costs of construction, completed by Turner Construction's Sports Group, are based on the actual completed construction costs of Major League Baseball parks built over the last decade, adjusted to the program outlined in this report with an anticipated midpoint of construction in 2005. The construction estimate has been adjusted to each of the five recommended sites with consideration given to likely structural impacts of subsurface conditions and other site-specific ramifications for site development. The estimates also include the construction of 1,100 on-site parking spaces as outlined in the program. As discussed elsewhere, the remaining parking estimated to be required for the project at each site either exists within walking distance of the site or may be accommodated within the surrounding neighborhood according to the urban design concepts illustrated on pages 40 to 59.

Land acquisition costs were estimated based on research of actual transactions concluded within each of the site areas within the last year, and adjusted to include an allowance for relocation costs of existing uses. This analysis was completed for the sake of establishing conceptual budget figures but was not a formal property appraisal, and the uncertainty of the actual costs to be realized are reflected in the range of costs represented herein.

Although the terms of the financing that will ultimately be put in place to cover these development costs are not yet quantifiable, it is possible to define a Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization through the application of theoretical financing terms (a thirty-year term at a 6% rate). This formula, applied to the development cost ranges estimated for all five sites, results in an annual Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization of the baseball park development ranging from $25 million to $39 million.



Land Acquisition and Relocation2 

Construction Hard Costs3

Soft Costs4

Estimated Total Project Costs

Capitol North $56,475,000 $78,519,000 $276,607,000 $78,328,000 $81,635,000 $411,410,000 $436,761,000
M Street Southeast $72,378,000 $78,996,000 $270,838,000 $79,256,000 $80,249,000 $422,472,000 $430,083,000
Mt. Vernon Square $109,485,0005 $173,610,0005 $273,420,000 $85,476,000 $95,094,000 $468,381,000 $542,124,000
NY Avenue Metro $74,845,000 $78,645,000 $271,676,000 $79,838,000 $80,408,000 $426,359,000 $430,729,000
RFK Stadium TBD6 TBD6 $273,333,000 $69,031,000 $69,031,000 $342,364,0007 $342,364,0007
Annual Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization8 $25,000,000 $39,000,000

All development cost data represent 2005 dollars.


Operating costs for both the baseball park and the baseball franchise have been estimated based on research involving a variety of sources, including the figures released in 2001 by Major League Baseball, and adjusted to any unique conditions of the Washington market or the proposed project. Operating costs for the baseball park consider both game-day and non-game-day expenses including full-time and part-time personnel, maintenance costs, utilities, insurance, etc. Separate from these expenses, team operating expenses have been estimated, acknowledging that these must include not only the standard operating expenses of a franchise but also the amortization of a franchise fee, the value of which has not yet been determined. Operating costs are therefore quoted exclusive of the franchise's obligations for revenue sharing, interest, and taxes.
$129,150,000 $139,461,000
All operating cost data represent 2008 dollars, the assumed stabilized year of operation for the baseball park.


The consulting team has also estimated the potential revenues that may be generated through the operation of the baseball park. These include the full range of potential revenue streams employed at other state-of-theart Major League Baseball venues, including gate receipts, premium seat leases (suites and club seats), concessions and merchandise sales, advertising and sponsorship revenues, naming rights, and personal seat licenses (PSLs). Other franchise revenues specific to the market, such as local broadcast rights, have been estimated for the Washington market.
$140,276,000 $174,038,000

All revenue data represent 2008 dollars, the assumed stabilized year of operation for the baseball park.


The proposed Major League Baseball park is expected to stimulate fiscal impacts both directly through its operation and through the stimulation of other development projects in the surrounding district. Under the existing D.C. tax structure, the fiscal impacts of the baseball park itself will include the collection of sales and use taxes on tickets, merchandise and concessions; business franchise taxes; individual income taxes; personal property taxes; and alcoholic beverage taxes. These revenues are directly quantifiable from the projected revenue and expense estimates for the baseball park.
$8,544,000 $10,362,000

All fiscal impact data represent 2008 dollars, the assumed stabilized year of operation for the baseball park.


It is also clear that the proposed Major League Baseball park will generate direct fiscal impacts by stimulating real estate development on surrounding properties. Estimates of this direct fiscal impact vary widely from one site to another and depend in part on the character and mix of land uses outlined in the ultimate development plan and the site selected. Preliminary estimates for these impacts include annual public revenues resulting from sales and use taxes, real property tax, business franchise taxes, individual income taxes, personal property tax, and alcoholic beverage taxes.
$0 $15,432,000
All fiscal impact data represent 2008 dollars, the assumed stabilized year of operation for the baseball park.


In addition to the public revenue streams that may result from the baseball park and surrounding development through the existing D.C. tax structure, the consulting team has studied revenue sources available to other cities as a result of the presence of Major League Baseball. These sources include:


Most states collect a personal income tax from non-resident Major League Baseball players, coaches, managers and trainers (as well as for other professional athletes and visiting entertainers of all sorts) under their tax policies for a pro rata portion of the income received from games played in that state. In 2001, for example, the State of Wisconsin collected $3 million from the taxing of income earned by the Milwaukee Brewers and their visiting opponents (West Federal Taxation, September 2001). Most recently, the City of Pittsburgh instituted a 1% income tax on professional athletes to secure a portion of the financing for PNC Park.


In locations such as Baltimore, special baseball-specific lottery games have been instituted to provide funding streams for baseball park projects. The Maryland Stadium Authority, developers of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Ravens Stadium, partially funds its activities through an average annual contribution of $22 million from the Maryland Lottery Agency (Maryland Stadium Authority Comprehensive Plan of Financing, 1995).


Some markets, such as Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, have instituted increases to alcohol and tobacco taxes to create funding for sports facilities as a means to support a healthy form of family entertainment through revenues from less healthy behaviors. In 2001, revenues from the alcohol and tobacco taxes were used to support an approximately $9 million debt service payment (Cuyahoga County Comprehensive Financial Report, 2001).


Some markets (including the District of Columbia, in regard to the MCI Center) have instituted taxes specifically to retire debt incurred related to the development of a sports and entertainment facility. In the case of the MCI Center, the District instituted an Arena Tax on D.C. businesses to retire funding on the public infrastructure constructed to support the privately financed arena. From Fiscal Year 1997 to Fiscal Year 2000, the Arena Tax generated between $9.6 million and $11.6 million in annual revenues for the District.


The aggregate net new revenue created by the return of Major League Baseball to the District of Columbia encompasses baseball park revenues, fiscal impacts of the baseball park, fiscal impacts of collateral development, and potentially the revenue streams employed in other cities for Major League Baseball park projects. Some combination of these revenues, weighed against the total estimated annual operating costs (before revenue sharing, interest and taxes) plus Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization, shows that there is far more than sufficient capacity to fund the baseball park project and support the operation of a successful franchise. There is sufficient potential in the combination of private and public resources available in the Washington, D.C. market to fund the Major League Baseball park project as proposed herein.
Sum of Annual Operating Costs and Hypothetical Development Cost Amortization $154,150,000 $178,461,000
Estimated Annual Potential Revenue Streams LOW HIGH
Baseball Park and Franchise Revenues $140,276,000 $174,038,000
Baseball Park and Franchise Fiscal Impacts $8,544,000 $10,362,000
Collateral Development Fiscal Impacts $0 $15,432,000
Other Revenue Streams9 $20,700,000 $23,900,000
All data represent 2008 dollars, the assumed stabilized year of operation of the baseball park.

Back to top of page


This report, compiled by consultants across a range of planning disciplines, was completed in consultation with three clients - the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and the Washington Baseball Club, L.L.C. This collaboration demonstrates the genuine potential for a public-private partnership with all of the necessary authority and resources to implement the D.C. Major League Baseball park project. A dialogue between District representatives and Major League Baseball is the necessary next step to move the conceptual plans outlined in this document toward reality.

It must also be recognized that the five sites identified herein are each part of a dynamic and growing city, that many are in private ownership, and that all are in transitioning areas. The conditions that exist today and create opportunities for a baseball park at these sites cannot be expected to remain static. Development can and will occur on and around each of these locations. It is likely that the farther into the future the baseball park project is implemented, fewer appropriate site options will remain for consideration.

The District of Columbia represents an immediate and viable opportunity to serve as home to a highly successful Major League Baseball franchise. Timely action by Major League Baseball is required for that opportunity not to be diminished.

Back to top of page

[Note: Footnotes have been renumbered to be consecutive throughout the report.]

1. Other parking required to support the baseball park is estimated on a site-by-site basis depending on the amount of existing spaces within walking distance of each site and the level of service by alternative modes of transportation such as Metro. The level of unmet parking demand, estimated to range up to approximately 6,000 spaces, is accommodated by a combination of existing spaces and newly planned spaces as presented in the urban design concepts on pages 40 through 59. 

2. Preliminary budget for land acquisition and an allowance for relocation costs.

3. As estimated by Turner Construction Sports Croup

4. Soft cost estimate includes the following expenses as a percentage of total hard costs of construction:

Architectural and Engineering Fees 8.0%
Testing. Fees, Permits 0.5%
Construction Contingency 5.0%
Direct Project Expenses 0.5%
Project Management 2.5%
Legal & Amounting Fees 1.0%
Constriction Period Interest Rate 4.0% Includes interest at 4%0 on land acquistion costs over three years and construction costs (at an average outstanding balance of 4500) over two years.
Financing Cost of Issuance 3.0% Applied to total project costs, inclusive of land accusation.
5. The broad rare of potential costs for site acquisition at Mt. Vernon Triangle are reflective of the uncertainty created by a very high number of private owners on the site; in addition, the values of specific comparable transactions were driven by unique program elements and acted a distinct variance in estimated land acquisition costs.

6. The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission currently manages the RFK campus under a long-tern lease with the Department of the Interior. Any costs associated with modifying the current lease or entering into a new agreement have yet to be determined.

7. Does not include any potential costs associated with modifying the current lease or entering into a new agreement.

8. Calculated at 6% over 30 years. Quoted as direct amortization cost with no debt coverage ratio applied.

9. Assumed to be some combination of revenues utilized in other MLB markets as detailed on the previous page.

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)