Events DC Unveils Redevelopment of RFK Stadium

The new design will bring multi-purpose fields, a market hall and a recreation complex.

Washington, D.C.—Proposed short-term redevelopment plans for the 190-acre Robert F. Kennedy Stadium-Armory Campus in Washington, D.C., were unveiled late last week by Events DC, the District of Columbia’s convention and sports authority.

RFK Stadium Masterplan

RFK Stadium Master Plan

This initial phase of the redevelopment is expected to include demolition of the 46,000-seat stadium and the construction of five new elements, including multi-purpose recreation fields, a market hall and a recreation complex.

The bill for all of this is expected to reach at least $489.6 million. Of that amount, Events DC is to provide $239.9 million, with the remainder coming from other public funding (for roads and other infrastructure) and from private funding.

The campus site, about 2.5 miles straight east of the Capitol Building, on the west bank of the Anacostia River, is largely owned by the federal government and is leased to the District of Columbia, according to Events DC.

In addition to the stadium, which was built in 1961 and is home to Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, the 190-acre campus includes the Festival Grounds at RFK Stadium, which hosts sporting events, endurance races and music festivals, and the DC Armory, which hosts televised boxing matches, as well as expositions and trade shows, an Events DC spokesperson told Commercial Property Executive.

The current recommended concept comprises five elements that can be designed and built over the next two to five years. These elements, Gregory O’Dell, president & CEO of Events DC, said in a prepared statement, are intended to “immediately activate the RFK Campus in a manner consistent with the needs of the community and desires of residents and visitors alike.”

These recommended elements are:

  • Three multi-purpose recreation and community playing fields, totaling about 5 acres, available to the public and useable in the evening;
  • A 47,000-square-foot market hall, next to Kingman Park, offering concessions, prepared food and groceries for both neighborhood residents and visitors to the site;
  • A 350,000-square-foot sports and recreation complex, housing a variety of sport programs for families, youth and amateur sports and to be developed, with a partner, as both a destination and a neighborhood amenity;
  • Three pedestrian bridges connecting the main site to Kingman and Heritage Islands;
  • A memorial to Robert F. Kennedy, to be built as a replacement to the stadium, which is to be demolished.

Along with Events DC, the project team includes program management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey and designers OMA New York.

There will be a more formal announcement regarding the plans this spring, once Events DC has received the appropriate regulatory and government approvals, Max Brown, the agency’s board chairman, said in the statement.

When conceptual masterplans for the redevelopment were announced last April, three anchor tenant options were presented: a 20,000-seat arena, an NFL stadium and no anchor. The long-term vision emphasizes the addition of roads that will provide a cross-grain to the current arterial roads, to make the entire site, the program elements and parking more accessible.

Further, based on community feedback received, the amount of green space will be increased by more than 200 percent.

Rendering courtesy of OMA