Assembly Continues Work on Stadium Authority Bill; Loudoun Leaders Skeptical

The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate have passed very different versions of a bill to create a Virginia Football Stadium Authority in a bid to attract the Washington Commanders games to the commonwealth, and now the future of that authority falls to six legislators appointed to a committee.

Missing from that committee: Anybody representing any of the three sites reportedly under consideration for the new stadium.

According to state legislators two possible sites are in Prince William County and one in Loudoun. The Loudoun site at the southeast quadrant of Rt. 28 and Old Ox Road, currently Loudoun Quarries, is near plans for an expansive mixed-use development, Rivana at Innovation Station. It is also a site considered by a previous Baseball Stadium Authority to attract a Major League Baseball team to Virginia.

That site is located in districts represented by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-86) and Sen. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-33).

The two sites in Prince William County are on undeveloped land on Telegraph Road near Summit School Road, and in the Potomac Shores Community. Those are represented by Dels. Luke E. Torian (D-52) and Candi Mundon King (D-2) and Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D-36).

None of those were appointed to the conference committee, which includes Virginia Beach Del. Barry D. Knight (R-81), Danville Del. Daniel W. Marshall III (R-14), and Chesapeake Del. C.E. Cliff Hayes Jr. (D-77), joined by Springfield Sen. Richard L. Saslaw (D-35), Bedford County Sen. Stephen D. Newman (R-23) and Alexandria Sen. Adam P. Ebbin (D-30). Knight and Saslaw were the two bills’ patrons.

The bills also do not enjoy universal support among Loudoun elected representatives. Most recently, delegates Karrie K. Delaney (D-67), Wendy W. Gooditis (D-10) and Dave A. LaRock (R-33) opposed the most recent bill in the House, and Sens. Boysko and Barbara A. Favola (D-31) voted no in the Senate. The House vote supporting the bill was 54-46. The Senate vote was 30-10.

Subramanyam, whose district includes the Loudoun site and also reaches into Prince William County, said he has voted yes on the legislation so far to allow it to continue to improve.

“I want to welcome anyone who’s willing to make billions of dollars’ worth of investment into our community, so I want something to succeed that makes sense for the people of Loudoun or Prince William County. With that said, I also want to make sure that we don’t set this up for failure,” he said.

Subramanyam said that would mean things like leaving terms too broadly defined, or leaving the public financing and taxing aspects of the authority too wide open. And he said the stadium authority should set localities up to provide infrastructure both around the new stadium development and elsewhere.

“I want to make sure that there are more guardrails on the financing portion of the bill, that we’re not setting this up so that it’s something that the team and the stadium authority can take advantage of in perpetuity without any consequences,” he said.

He also said to win his approval the bill would have to address the concerns of localities—and Loudoun supervisors have looked at the bill with skepticism. They have said that the authority should include representation from the locality.

In February, Loudoun supervisors voted to direct the county’s staff and lobbyists in Richmond to push to preserve local taxing and land use authority, that the new campus have enough adequate infrastructure to support it, and that at least one member of the authority be appointed by the local governing body wherever a stadium site is selected.

Loudoun supervisors have continued to say they will be looking at any possible stadium with a skeptical eye.

Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn), chairman of the board’s Transportation and Land Use Committee, said Tuesday that at this point, any comment he would offer on a Loudoun site would be “pure speculation.”

“They haven’t picked a place, and there are things that we have discussed in closed session that I can’t talk about,” Turner said.

But, he said, “if any decision is made to move the stadium into Loudoun, we’re going to look with a very, very careful eye toward the land use issues.”

“In a hypothetical way, the creation of stadium in Loudoun County would have an enormous impact on our land use decisions going forward, almost no matter where it goes,” Turner said. “And we’ve got a lot of really cool projects in the offing right now, and we’re all going to look at it with a very, very close eye toward the unintended consequences.”

Subramanyam said he wouldn’t support the stadium without the proposed accompanying development.

“There’s been a lot of research done that shows a stadium alone will not be a magic solution to a locality’s economic success. There’s been enough studies to how that stadiums are often a net negative in some ways,” Subramanyam said. “But if you include other things related to it … and you make it so that it’s a good deal and has a self-sustaining ability, then it makes a lot more sense. Then you are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars or more being invested into a community.”

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder is pursuing a project that would incorporate a new NFL stadium in a larger mixed-use development. The Loudoun site, now home to a quarry operation, previously was rezoned to allow construction of a large mixed-use community known as Waterside.

The Senate plan would authorize 40-year bonds to finance a stadium, send sales tax revenues and both corporate income tax and a portion of personal income tax revenues generated by the to the stadium authority, and permit localities to condemn land to give to the stadium authority.

The House of Delegates plan is more constrained, with a shorter 20-year period of financing, no new eminent domain power, and redirecting only sales tax revenue to the stadium authority. The House version also directs half the revenue from selling the naming rights to the stadium to the stadium authority. 

In committee, lawmakers have begun to trim the bill back, limiting the amount of public financing to $350 million and defining more clearly what the stadium authority can use that money to finance.

6 thoughts on “Assembly Continues Work on Stadium Authority Bill; Loudoun Leaders Skeptical

  • 2022-03-09 at 4:06 pm

    “Missing from that committee: Anybody representing any of the three sites reportedly under consideration for the new stadium.” Translation: Richmond plans to force this down any localities throat and does not want local dissent.

    An interesting thought is that, if they built it at the quarry, they could put the stadium in the ground where the giant hole is now. That would be unique.

  • 2022-03-09 at 6:48 pm

    NO. Don’t make the same mistake of luring Metro to LoCo. It has not even started running and will be a collossal failure. The only ones that benefit will be the developers cramming cheap, econo-box housing near the LoCo metro stops. You would have to be nuts to get on a Metro train now and sit there for an hour or more to DC. Good luck with that. We don’t need NFL football in Loudoun, give it to Stafford or Prince William and let them deal with it. I can’t believe Snyder would want to come all the way out here to watch his losing Commies aka Commanders.

    • 2022-03-10 at 11:24 pm

      I agree with the “no” part of this. We don’t need a stadium here. It will do nothing but bring worse traffic to the area to be put on roads that can’t handle what they have already.

      As to the rest, you must not do a lot of travel. Try taking the subway from JFK into Manhattan… or the tube from LHR into London. Both of those can easily take an hour or more, depending on where you are going. MARTA from ATL into Atlanta will take about 30 minutes, and NJT or PATH from EWR into Manhattan can be anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on how lucky your timing is. So stop with your complaints about the ride from IAD into DC on Metro… because that was always part of the plan and should have been completed at least 20 years ago.

  • 2022-03-10 at 10:39 am

    Here is a thought: Cancel the Ox Road tax creating project, build a stadium into the ground in the airport (similar effect to using the quarry) within walking distance to the Metro, transfer the airport back to Virginia from the federal government allowing Loudoun to collect property taxes from the very profitable MWAA parking lots and modify the composite index to allow a more fair return of sales tax collected by in Loudoun to be returned to Loudoun. Parking already exists and mass transit already exists for fans, more money for MWAA and Loudoun, no student generation to drain property taxes as the Ox Road development would cause and LCPS would receive more of a fair share of sales tax proceeds which are supposed to support schools and traffic would have much less effect on the area. Your welcome! 🙂

  • 2022-03-14 at 11:52 am

    I would rather see Loudoun County make a hard push to get the new FBI headquarters in the county. There is plenty of room and the internal bus system can be configured to run people from the Metro to the FBI HQ. Eventually, FBI employees will want to buy in Loudoun County to shorten their commute. No real downside to bringing the FBI HQ to Loudoun County from downtown DC.

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