Owner Dan Snyder has reportedly retained Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to design a new Redskins stadium in the region – the clearest sign the team is ready to leave FedEx Field.
The hiring of Bjarke Ingels Group is a surprising move: the firm isn’t known for any sports architecture, but it certainly is one of the highest-profile design firms in the world. It’s designing Google’s new space-age headquarters and working with The Smithsonian Institution on a new master plan. But then again, what the Redskins are doing may end up breaking a lot of rules. First off, the team’s lease at FedEx Field in suburban Landover, Maryland runs through 2027, so leaving early will require some level of finesse.
But there’s another scenario that will require even more finesse: a potential return to the District – specifically, the RFK Stadium site. Most consider the Redskins’ glory days to have taken place at RFK Stadium, and returning there would be both nostalgic and imminently practical: the site features a lot of parking and it’s well-served by freeway access and public transit. The future of the site is under some discussion; with MLS’s D.C. United still moving forward with a new stadium, Events DC has been mapping out some sort of working plan for the area.
Politics may interfere, however: the land at RFK Stadium is controlled by the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior, and the Redskins name isn’t exactly popular with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell or other federal officials. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to object to the name, and given we’re entering the last year of the Obama Administration, it wouldn’t be a totally stupid move to wait and see if a new administration isn’t friendlier to the Redskins moniker.
And there’s another player in the mix, per the Washington Post:
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has pitched the team on locations in Loudoun County along the unbuilt second leg of Metro’s Silver Line, and the team hired lobbyists from McGuire Woods to advance support for a stadium among state legislators. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) meanwhile has inquired with federal officials controlling the land beneath RFK Stadium about building a new stadium there.
Loudoun County is both affluent and sports-crazy: both the Redskins and the Washington Nationals claim to have high numbers of game attendees from there