RFK Stadium & DC Armory News

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Contact:Tony Robinson (202) 608-1126

Mayor Anthony A. Williams and The DC Sports& Entertainment Commission Unveil Design for the New Washington Nationals Ballpark

(WASHINGTON, DC)—Today, Washington, DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) unveiled watercolor renderings and design plans for the future home of the Washington Nationals. Last year, after a 34-year hiatus, Major League Baseball returned to the nation’s capital at historic RFK Memorial Stadium, where the team drew nearly 3 million fans.

The new ballpark, located in Southeast Washington along the Anacostia River Waterfront, not only redefines modern sports facility architecture but will serve as the cornerstone of a new mixed-use waterfront entertainment district. The exterior façade of the 41,000 seat facility makes innovative use of building materials including glass, structural steel and pre-cast concrete to create a structure that departs from recent ballpark design and is uniquely at home in the Capital City. The new ballpark features a number of fan amenities and strives to be the most environmentally friendly MLB ballpark ever.

“The dream is finally a reality. I think Nationals fans will love this ballpark as much as I do,” said Mayor Williams. “Our efforts to build the new ballpark have always centered on making the District a better place for people who work and live here. With a revitalized waterfront, we will reap tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue in coming years, money that can be used to fund critical social programs to help our neediest residents, school improvements for our children and crucial road, bridge and construction projects to make our city even stronger.”

The ballpark was designed by a joint venture of HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell. The joint-venture is comprised of DC-based Devrouax & Purnell Architects and the sports division of Kansas City-based Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum Inc., known as HOK Sport, a firm internationally renowned for its stadiums and arenas. Devrouax & Purnell is a well respected, African-American owned firm with significant understanding of the District’s architectural influences. Together they have created a facility that not only will be a hit with players and fans, but that fits elegantly into the City’s urban core.

“We look forward to being able to move forward quickly with construction and delivering the ballpark on time and within budget,” said Allen Y. Lew, chief executive officer of the DC Sports & Entertainment Commission. Lew has guided the design process for DCSEC and will also manage the construction process.

“We will meet our goal of 50 percent Local, Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contracting by aggressively seeking qualified firms and will continue the District’s aim of training and employing residents through the apprenticeship programs and project labor agreement that are now in place,” said Lew.

The $611 million facility will be built by the joint venture design-build team of Clark Construction, Hunt Construction Group and Smoot Construction. The District’s Chief Financial Officer will shortly head to Wall Street to issue approximately $535 million in bonds to finance the project.

To help the Sports Commission and the architects score the right notes with the design, a special advisory committee was established. Architects, business leaders and DC citizens reviewed early renditions of the design and provided invaluable suggestions. The commission also retain renowned architect James Polshek to consult on the design.

“This unveiling tells us that we’ll have the innovation of modern ballpark design for the fans and an anchor building in a reclaimed part of town that updates the city’s monumental architecture for the 21st century,” says Bob Peck, former president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. “The ballpark will create an impressive yet open and inviting edge to South Capitol Street, a bold new gateway to the city and the kind of alternating tight-then-open spaces around it that foster urban places where people want to linger.”

Mr. Peck is also a former member of the US Commission of Fine Arts, an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, former president of the DC Preservation League, former Commissioner of Public Buildings for the US General Services Administration and a Trustee of the National Building Museum and the American Architectural Foundation.

Another design committee member, DC architect Harry G. Robinson, said “The site and architecture of the ballpark respond to their special place in the City, on a proposed formal South Capitol Street and within the developing Anacostia waterfront area. Both come together to re-create the culture of baseball as an American pastime in Washington and as a high octane activity node and gateway icon in the structure of the City.”

New Washington Nationals Ballpark Unveiling-Page ThreeRobinson continued, “The delicate transparency of the ballpark’s structure and the placement of concourses allow views into the stadium and a visual interaction with the city for fans. The urban design strategies supporting the architecture are thoughtful and at the center of the success of the assemblage of the ballpark’s elements. This unveiling is more than a revealing of an architectural statement, it is the unveiling of new life in the city re-defined and formalized.”

###NOTE: High resolution watercolor renderings of the new Washington Nationals Ballpark will be available at approximately 1:00 p.m. on the DCSEC website www.WashDCSports.com. For interview requests with Allen Y. Lew or the architectural team, please contact Tony Robinson at (202) 608-1126, (202) 439-3277 or via email at ARobinson@dcsec.com.

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