The local chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women presented Loudoun Economic Development with its “Deal of the Year” award for the effort to co-locate D.C. United’s headquarters and a Loudoun United stadium near Leesburg.
Kimley-Horn and Associates, an engineering consulting firm, and GeoConcepts Engineering, a geotechnical engineering company, nominated the department for the award, writing “Professional sports teams provide a relatively unique type of development that requires ingenuity and creativity to secure. This development offered several challenges, such as the fact that the team needs to have the stadium built and operational less than one year after the deal was signed. This required a significant amount of planning and coordination between county departments to ensure permits and approvals could be obtained.”
“In addition, the project location is near the Town of Leesburg limits, which requires coordination of transportation, public infrastructure, and community needs. In order for the deal to work, all of these factors had to be dealt with and resolved in a very short period of time.”
“We could not be more proud of this award,” said Loudoun Economic Development’s Executive Director Buddy Rizer. “This a great example of an innovative approach to county assets on behalf of the D.C. United organization, our Board of Supervisors and county staff. Without the vision of our leadership and the cooperation of multiple departments like the County Attorney’s Office, Transportation and Capital Infrastructure, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning and Building and Development, this deal would not be possible. We accept this award on behalf of all of them.”
For this project, Loudoun County is providing the land for the facilities, and approximately $15 million in financing for the construction of the fields, offices, training facility and a 5,000-seat stadium. The team will make regular lease payments to the county that will fully offset any debt payments incurred as part of the financing package.
The county will also retain the ability to operate the paid parking lots for stadium events and as a Loudoun County Transit Park and Ride lot during commuting hours. Of the four soccer fields, two will serve as the team practice fields and two can be used by the county during peak recreational periods. The county will also be able to use the stadium for other purposes, such as graduations and concerts.
As noted in the award nomination, the strongest aspect of this project is the value the community will gain from being the home of a professional soccer franchise. Loudoun United will be part of the United Soccer League, which has 40 teams throughout the U.S. Loudoun United will play teams from Louisville, Cincinnati, Richmond, and other cities in a 30-game schedule that will have 15 home dates.
“Loudoun County is one of the most impressive counties in the country – between the robust community and youth soccer presence, the creation of a professional soccer team is the perfect way to activate the two,” said Loudoun United COO, Adam Behnke. “With a team to call our own, a local professional sports entertainment option and youth soccer players having role models in their backyard to follow to one day play at the professional level, we can truly create something special in our community.”