Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan entered the season hoping his team’s indoor practice bubble would be completed by Nov. 1, but the team’s application for construction of the facility remains under review by the Loudoun County Department of Building Development and the first block of foundation has yet to be laid.
The Redskins on Sept. 1 officially announced plans to construct an “air structure” that would be built over a full-size football field and said the bubble was expected to be completed later this fall.
But according the Department of Building Development records, the zoning requirements for the project have been approved. But the Redskins only submitted the permit application for the actual construction of the bubble on Sept. 20. The status of that application’s approvals is pending.
It’s unknown how long the approval process will take, but for now, the area where the bubble will be constructed is simply a large muddy area where trees and grass have been scraped away. Thursday, as the team reported for practice, tractors sat idle, as they have for much of the month of September, and no construction workers were seen on the site.
On Sept. 7, rain forced the Redskins to practice off-site, and when asked about the bubble, Shanahan grinned and said, “Oh, it’ll be done. It’ll be done by November 1st, and that means it’ll be done by January 2nd. No, hopefully it’ll be done November 1st.”
On Sept. 15, while at the unveiling of FedEx Field’s solar panels, Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder and senior vice president Tony Wyllie said that weather had caused the delay to the bubble construction, but added that the team had all the permits needed.
Thursday – when it was learned that the construction application still is pending — Wyllie didn’t provide an explanation on the application process, but said only, “We made the announcement about our plans, and we’re still going to build the bubble.”
With approval still pending, the likelihood that the land grading, the laying of a turf field and the completion of a structure could all be completed in five weeks seems highly unlikely, especially given that the area remains saturated from frequent rain, but Wyllie didn’t reveal a new target date for completion of the project.