Home & Style

Sports Architecture Firm Populous Will Design DC United Stadium, Officials Say

Renderings of the new design from the firm that did Nationals Park will be unveiled Saturday.

DC United had been using renderings drawn up by HKS Architects, but will use another firm. Rendering courtesy DC United.

DC United has retained the sports architecture firm Populous to design the stadium it plans to build in Southwest DC, city and team officials tell Washingtonian. The soccer club plans to unveil the latest renderings of the project at a team event Saturday at Pinstripes bowling alley in Georgetown, said the team official, who did not want to be named.

The team previously used renderings drawn up by HKS Architects, but has settled on Kansas City, Missouri-based Populous, which has a solid history of work with Major League Soccer teams. Populous has built soccer stadiums in Houston, Denver, and Kansas City, along with many stadiums for professional teams in Europe.  DC United and Populous declined to share renderings ahead of tomorrow’s event.

Populous has a track record in Washington, having designed Nationals Park, which sits just a few blocks away from Buzzard Point, where DC United plans to build a stadium once it can secure the nine-acre plot. So far, City Administrator Allen Lew says he has made agreements with the development firm Akridge and Pepco for about 80 percent of the land, but still needs to reach settlements with the investor Mark Ein and a salvage yard that own the other tracts on the stadium site.

The District government plans to spend up to $150 million to obtain and rehabilitate the stadium land, with construction costs of roughly the same amount to be borne by the team. A recent Washington Post poll found that six in 10 residents oppose the use of public funds to prepare Buzzard Point for DC United, but city residents can be uneven about public financing of sports venues. Although spending $650 million in public money for Nationals Park was unpopular at the time, the Post’s poll also found that 71 percent of residents today say the investment was a net positive.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.