Nationals Park’s dispute with the capital could threaten concerts and other events

The District is playing a hard game in a dispute with the Nationals Park owner, effectively threatening to close the stadium if Events DC fails to develop the commercial and retail space it promised before the football stadium opened in 2008.

Under the original agreement with the city, Events DC pledged to build 46,000 square feet of commercial and retail space around Nats Park, located along the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard neighborhood. But the company — arguing that the “extremely unique circumstances” of the pandemic and other business factors made those initial plans unworkable — is now seeking to eliminate that responsibility.

If no agreement is reached, the dispute could threaten matches, concerts and other events scheduled for the stadium.

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Instead of the original development, Events DC has proposed terminating a much smaller 17,000 square foot structure already connected to the stadium on First Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as a retail-only space.

“Both Events DC and the Washington Nationals are eager to move forward with building their existing retail space and providing more options for the now vibrant Capitol Riverfront community,” Kristi Goodman, a spokeswoman for Events DC, wrote in an email.

At the heart of disruption is a routine piece of paper that companies must run. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, in a maneuver to increase pressure on Events DC to pursue its promised development, said it would not renew the temporary occupancy certificate that the stadium has used since its opening day in March 2008.

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This certificate is set to expire on September 30, according to Washington Business Journal, which was first reported on snafu. The Nationals’ final home game is scheduled for October 2.

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DCRA spokesman Daniel Weaver said a statement from the agency was imminent.

The Nationals did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The spat comes towards the end of a frustrating season for citizens, and amid growing uncertainty over the property market. Earlier this year, three seasons of the victorious world title were removed, the Lerner family Put the team up for salesaying they hope to receive initial bids before the last of the regular season. At least five interested partiesincluding mortgage tycoon A South Korean billionaireexplored a purchase, The Post reported last month.

But Events DC, a company that calls itself “the premier host of convention, entertainment, sporting and cultural events in the nation’s capital,” is the owner of the Nationals Park itself, as well as venues in the city like the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. and RFK Stadium. The $611 million soccer field welcomed baseball’s return to the region with a big win on March 30, 2008.

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In public filings with the D.C. zoning commission, Events DC requested that it be released from the agreement it had made before debuting to build a full 46,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. She said reducing her prior commitment to development appears to be the only way to resolve the impasse with DCRA and obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy.

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If the commission continues, the company said, it will also obtain a building permit for the project within six months of the decision. In the meantime, you will request another extension of the temporary certificate of occupancy.

The company’s vision for 17,000 square feet of retail space was scaled back from a larger design it introduced in August 2019. At the time, the vision included an additional 35,000 square feet as part of a destination for dining, commercial, and sports viewing. The project has received D.C. Council approval and a $3.6 million commitment from Events DC, according to Events DC’s filing with the zoning commission.

But then Covid-19 hit, and so did the difficulties with public finance. The double effect, according to the filing, also halted this vision.

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