D.C. United have officially broken ground on Audi Field, a more than half a billion dollar investment to construct a state-of-the-art soccer-specific stadium and adjoining mixed use development in the Southwest Waterfront District. The team’s new home will open in 2018.
Legendary United midfielder and current head coach, Ben Olsen, and USMNT and United homegrown product, goalkeeper, Bill Hamid, rallied the crowd and took part in the ceremony of the historic event alongside District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, United Managing General Partner Jason Levien, Audi of America President Scott Keogh, D.C. City Council Commissioner Phil Mendelson and D.C. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.
Levien, who took over as managing general partner of the club alongside general partner, Erick Thohir, in 2012, thanked the many people who have worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality over the past five years.
“It’s a tremendous honor for Erick and I to be to finally bestow to this club and these fans a world-class soccer stadium, Audi Field, designed to provide soccer fans the ultimate soccer experience,” Levien said. “This process hasn’t been easy, but it has made this moment, shovels finally hitting the ground, even sweeter. Erick and I are grateful for the patience and hardwork that has gone into this process and we’re proud to be a part of this important moment for the franchise, for the league, for the community and for this sport.”
An estimated 500 people celebrated the latest landmark moment in the Black-and-Red’s 21-year journey for a permanent home.
Remediation began on the site in December and concludes in March. Next week, United will file for their superstructure permit to start erecting steel structure above grade.
MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, offered congratulations to United and their fans, noting that the most decorated soccer team in the U.S. is finally moving into the home it deserves, the last of the charter MLS teams to remain in their original venue.
“[Audi Field] will create jobs, create opportunity, hope and development,” Garber said. "What is now sand and dirt in a year and a half’s time will be a state-of-the-art, world-class facility that’s going to give [Washington] international exposure beyond that which it already has. It’s going to be a great cathedral for our sport. Congratulations.”
On February 15, United announced a multi-year stadium naming rights partnership with Herndon-based Audi of America.
“Audi has been a long-time supporter of soccer, and it is only right that we bring this passion home to our community in D.C. with Audi Field,” Keogh said. "We can’t wait to win a title and have this great stadium open.”
District of Columbia Mayor, Muriel Bowser, has been an ardent champion of the stadium project during her term, assisting the club in securing land inside the District to ensure United’s long-term residency in D.C., a key step in her vision to make the nation’s capital the sports capital of the U.S.
"As the nation’s sports capital, we are proud to break ground on D.C. United’s new home,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Buzzard Point will soon be a destination center for all Washingtonians, from the most die-hard United fans to friends and families looking to enjoy our ever-expanding waterfront development. Most importantly, we are paving the way to more jobs and economic opportunity for D.C. residents and future businesses along the Anacostia River.”
Audi Field will be the home for D.C. United, the most decorated franchise in U.S. soccer history and the most championed professional team in the District of Columbia. Opening in 2018, it will also host a variety of other sporting and cultural events, community activities, and concerts. The state-of-the-art urban facility has a capacity of 20,000 fans and will feature 31 luxury suites, a bike valet, and 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site, making it a 365-day destination for fans and D.C. residents alike.