A few days after former Mayor Marion Barry said that the notion of a Redskins training facility being built in the District of Columbia “fantasy land” we got a considerably more rational analysis of the situation from WTOP radio investigative reporter Mark Segraves.
“They really believe that this is their toe in the water,” when it comes to luring the Redskins said Seagraves on 106.7 The Fan, as transcribed by the DC Sports Bog. As we discussed here a few weeks ago, the new Redskins Park would go into a site near RFK Stadium, the team’s home during its glory days.
When asked what his gut feeling on the situation is, Segraves said, “You know, these guys have talked about this for years and years and years, but when I talk to people who say they’re closer than ever before, it means that they’re having very serious conversations with the Redskins.”
There are many more details in Dan Steinberg’s post in the Bog, so go check that out. However, there is one flaw in the plan that jumped out at me and that is the financial aspect of the plan as described by Sagraves.
Snyder owns that land [in Ashburn], so if the city were to give him the land for free — which is actually owned by the federal government, not the district government. So he gets the land for free, he pays to build his training facility, but then he gets to sell the land in Ashburn, which has got to be worth tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
Well, yes, Redskins Park does sit on some pretty valuable land. Problem is that it is on a flood plain. If someone else buys the land, nothing can be built on the four football fields that are behind the building and on some other areas of the property. There still is a good amount of usable land there but the utility of the land is limited so therefore its value is limited.
So that part of the plan might not work as well as some might think, but that wouldn’t necessarily torpedo the idea. It is hard to say if the move of the Redskins’ headquarters to Washington is really picking up steam or if it’s just, as Barry said, a fantasy.