The Washington Commanders have purchased 200 acres of land in Woodbridge that could be the home of their new stadium project, a $3 billion “mini-city” that would contain a number of entertainment, residential and workspace components.
Renderings obtained by The Richmond Times-Dispatch show a futuristic stadium that can change colors, a translucent roof that would allow natural light while climate-controlled, and a new team headquarters.
The land, near Potomac Mills off I-95, was purchased for $100 million, but sources with knowledge of the team’s plans were quick to point out on Monday that the location has not been picked yet, and other potential sites remain in play – in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.
A bill that will provide state support for a potential stadium is expected to pass in the coming weeks along with the state budget, formalizing Virginia’s contribution to the project at an estimated $350 million.
The project is modeled in part after The Battery in Atlanta, the home of the Atlanta Braves. It’s anchored by the team, but that also has a number of other components to draw year-round traffic.
Like The Battery, Washington’s proposed Woodbridge site is far from the urban center, but the Commanders’ other top options, in Loudoun County or at the current FedEx Field site, are also at a remove.
Here are some of the highlights of the renderings that have been produced to lawmakers and other project planners, as obtained by The Times-Dispatch:
New team headquarters:
The Commanders are planning to move their team headquarters from its current Loudoun County site to wherever the new stadium ends up.
That means training camp, offseason practices and festivities like draft night parties would all be centered at the new location.
The headquarters building would be constructed with an environmentally friendly “heavy timber” construction process.
The facility would include an amphitheater that could seat from 15,000 to 20,000 guests, enough to host major concerts.
Virginia Sen. Scott Surovell, who oversees the area the project is in, noted on Monday that Prince William County residents lag behind the other areas of metro D.C. in entertainment options, and this would bring more options to the area.
The hope would also be to make the team, and its programming, more accessible to fans throughout Virginia, including Fredericksburg and the Richmond area.
A nearly mile-long walkway would be the center of the game-day and year-round experience, with bars and restaurants that fans could eat and drink at.
A large yard near the stadium would consist of artificial grass that can transform from a public space during the week to a parking lot on game days.
Office space is also expected to be a key part of the project. The team plans to have a resort-style convention center, which would be the first of its kind in the area.
Tailgating and traffic:
One major question mark on a project in Prince William County will be traffic, given that the segment of I-95 that runs through Occoquan is routinely one of the most backed-up sections of roadway on the East Coast.
Surovell noted that there has long been interest in extending Metro service to Potomac Mills, but so far the regional authorities have been lukewarm, at best, to the idea.
Sources with knowledge of the stadium design said there would be ample parking built into the Commanders’ project, with additional entrance and exit lanes built into I-95 and the I-95 Express Lanes. It is considered extremely unlikely that a Metro expansion would happen before the stadium’s opening date.
Commanders officials have continued to press forward towards a potential 2027 stadium opening. The Buffalo Bills recently reached a deal on a new stadium project that is expected to open in 2026, leaving open the possibility that Washington could hit its mark if the financing and logistics were worked out in the coming year.
The purchase of the land for $100 million is a statement of support for the Woodbridge site, but the team has also considered a site in Loudoun County, on the new Silver Line Metro extension.
A third potential site, in Dumfries, remains under consideration but has a number of logistical hurdles.
The team could also opt to stay at its current site in Landover, Md., where the government has pledged $400 million in support to a redesigned stadium and business district.
The site long considered the fan favorite, where RFK Stadium sits in downtown D.C., remains unlikely given the federal government control of the land.
If the project lands in Woodbridge, it would immediately become one of the biggest development projects in state history.
At $3 billion, the entire 200-acre complex, including entertainment and residental components, would be one of the most expensive in American sports, though far from the record $5 billion that was spent on SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.
It’s the roof and exterior that would be the centerpiece of the design, visible from I-95 and able to transform with the time and event.
The team’s drawings anticipate a stadium of about 60,000 seats, designed to provide a better experience for a smaller number of fans, instead of catering to a large number, as was the original vision at FedEx Field.
PHOTOS: Renderings of proposed new stadium for the Washington Commanders
Article Source: NBC Right Now