If a deal with Loudoun County goes through, DC United’s new second division professional soccer team could have Loudoun in the name.
The Board of Supervisors will hear publicly for the first time on Jan. 10 about a proposed $15 million financing deal to bring DC United team offices, training facilities, and a new second division to Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park south of Leesburg. The broad outline of that deal, published Friday in board meeting materials, show the county would lease 54 acres at the park to DC United’s owner and operator, DC Soccer Management Company LLC.
The Division II men’s professional team would play in the United Soccer League, a league with 33 teams in the U.S. and Canada that was founded in 2010. As a second division team, it falls directly under major league soccer. DC Soccer Management has said although final naming authority for the second division team name lies with the league, it believes it can incorporate Loudoun into the name, and will advocate that with the league.
An addendum to the proposed memorandum of agreement with DC United suggests the name “Loudoun United.”
The proposal, in the works for years, was announced Thursday. The company would build approximately 40,000 square feet of headquarters and training facilities for DC United and the United Soccer League Team, four soccer fields, and a modular stadium for the USL team with at least 5,000 seats. The team’s franchise agreement requires it to begin competing in spring of 2019.
The county would finance the cost of that construction, up to $15 million. Part of the site is used today to dump dirt and rubble from excavation; the county will be responsible for clearing that land.
The county will also be responsible for building 1,000 parking spaces to serve the stadium, alongside the 691 spaces already available at the park-and-ride lot at the park. The cost of clearing the site and building the parking lot is estimated at $7 million.
The company will pay rent until it has paid off county financing, likely over a term of 30 years. County staff members also anticipate significant work would be required at the stadium after 15 to 20 years.
After paying back county financing, the company would pay rent to the county according to a marketing and revenue sharing agreement or a fair market rate determined by independent auditors. The proposed agreement anticipates a 40-year lease with an option for 10 year extensions, depending on the terms of the financing obtained by the county. The rent agreement may be renegotiated after 20 years.
The county and team will also lobby the General Assembly to give Loudoun the authority to collect an admissions tax at the stadium. If the county wins that approval, the admissions tax could be used toward the county’s financing for the project.
If the stadium is expanded beyond 6,000 seats, more parking would likely be required.
One suite at the USL stadium will be named the “Loudoun County Economic Development Suite” and county government leaders will have the first choice to use the suite.
If the United Soccer League’s affiliation with Major League Soccer ends during the lease, DC United would be required to locate another second division team in the county.
According to the county report, the land proposed for leasing to DC United is valued at $23 million.