Saturday, May 23, 2009

McFarlane Exit Great News For DC United Fans

Good riddance to Victor McFarlane.

DC United has announced that McFarlane has withdrawn as an "owner" of the local soccer franchise (Major League Soccer actually owns the team).

McFarlane, head of a Los Angeles real estate management company, purchased an interest in the team a couple years ago. To much fanfare, he announced that he would be leading an effort to put the team in a new soccer-only stadium.

The problem was, with McFarlane, it was never about DC United getting a new stadium. Instead, it was all about Victor. What he wanted was to leverage a stadium into a large mixed-use real estate development that his company would develop.

No one in the DC area really knows McFarlane, so it is no surprise that local politicos were loathe to give him some lucrative real estate deal as part of getting a new stadium built. He almost bamboozled officials in Prince Georges County--a terrible place for a new stadium--but the terms of the deal were so ridiculous that even P.G.'s political operatives (no strangers to inside deals) balked.

There was never any indication that McFarlane cared much about DC United--or even soccer for that matter. We're glad to see him go.

McFarlane's exit clears the way for the team to look for an opportunity to build a stadium, without having it be part of some huge real estate deal. That's good, as it opens up many more possibilities.

The most logical is staring DC United officials every time they set foot on their home pitch at RFK Stadium. Dilapidated RFK sits on an enormous site in eastern D.C., with some prime river front acreage. The thing to do is build a new soccer-only stadium (which would seat about 25,000 spectators and take up a lot less room than the current stadium) on a corner of the property, then tear down RFK and re-develop the site--not for McFarlane or DC United's benefit, but for the benefit of Washington, DC.

That would give DC United the new stadium it needs; give DC United patrons a convenient venue; and give DC a spectacular new site for development. (What they should've done, a few years ago, is build both the Nationals stadium and a soccer stadium on this site, with parking and Metro access, but too late for that.)

No comments: