When Mayor Vince Gray and Councilmembers Michael Brown (I-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) visited Tampa late last year to take a look at the state-of-the-art training facility used by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it could have seemed like an ongoing exercise in wishful thinking to get the Redskins back to move their Ashburn-based training facility into the District. Maybe not.
On Monday, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins met with a group of ANC commissioners from wards 6 and 7 to discuss stalled plans for Reservation 13, the 67-plot of land where RFK Stadium, the old D.C. General Hospital and the D.C. Jail are currently located. According to Lisa White, a Ward 7 ANC commissioner who attended the meeting, Hoskins told them that longstanding plans for the site’s redevelopment were on hold while Gray continues discussions with team officials over a possible Redskins training facility.
Jose Sousa, Hoskins’ spokesman, confirmed that the discussions were taking place. “There have been ongoing informal conversations between the Mayor and the team for some time,” wrote Sousa in an email.
Much to the chagrin of the commissioners who attended the meeting, though, Hoskins said he had no further information on any potential Redskins training facility or how it might impact existing plans for mixed-use development on the site. The most he could offer was that District would know whether a training facility is in the cards within 30 days.
Neil Glick, a Ward 6 ANC commissioner, said that while he wasn’t averse to the idea of a training facility, he and fellow neighborhood leaders were frustrated with the lack of communication or clarity from the city on how it planned to move forward — training facility or not.
“Reservation 13 is always on hold,” he said. “They just don’t have a plan. What’s something like this going to do for us?”, he asked of the training facility. (Glick’s colleague Brian Flahaven sounded a similarly frustrated tone in a blog post on the meeting.)
Gray’s overtures to Snyder haven’t gone unnoticed by officials in Loudoun County, who in January repeated an offer to build the team a Hall of Fame at the existing training facility. The potential for a bidding war between various jurisdictions over the Redskins’ training facility makes Glick nervous, he admitted.
“D.C. has a really bad history of doing nothing to help small business owners while offering oodles of tax breaks to corporations,” he said. Glick, who’s a realtor and real estate investor, also seemed miffed that the city would be stalling on building housing on a site that’s next to a Metro station and bordering the Anacostia River.
According to Sousa, Hoskins’ staff will be meeting with members of the community “in the next month” to discuss standing plans for Reservation 13, and Gray will follow up with a late-March meeting on whether or not a training facility will be coming to Capitol Hill.