The $30 million upgrade and expansion of everything from the team’s weight room to its cafeteria will be accomplished with more than $6 million in government money. Virginia will spend $4 million over the next two years, Loudoun County will provide $2 million over the next four years and Richmond has agreed to pay as much as $400,000 to help refurbish the Redskins’ facility, where its corporate headquarters will remain.
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said Wednesday that the state has been working for about a year to negotiate a deal.
“This is yet another major corporation that has decided to stay in Virginia or grow in Virginia or move to Virginia,’’ McDonnell said at a news conference outside the governor’s mansion. “We are the most business friendly state in America and that’s why even though other jurisdictions offered significant revenue to get them to move, the management and ownership of the Redskins understood there’s no better place to call home . . . than the Commonwealth of Virginia.’’
The announcement came on the same day that Exxon Mobil announced it would close its Fairfax County campus and move operations that employ 2,100 people there to Houston.
Redskins officials, including Coach Mike Shanahan, have long expressed a desire to move the annual training camp, which begins in late July and runs for about a month, away from the team’s regular season training facility. The Redskins held training camp at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., from 1963-94 and in 2001 and 2002. They held training camp at Frostburg State University from 1995-99.
Team executives also consider Redskins Park, opened in 1992, badly in need of a top-to- bottom facelift if the facility is to rival those of other NFL franchises. This offseason, the team opened an indoor practice bubble and Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen indicated last month that would be only the first of a series of upgrades as the Redskins’ brass works to modernize the facility.
Allen said Wednesday afternoon on radio station WTEM (980 AM) that the improvements will include a new weight room, a new training room, a new cafeteria and better technology.
The team has held talks with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) about finding a facility in the District and had spoken with Prince George’s County representatives about a site in Bowie.
Allen released a statement Wednesday morning saying that “we are very pleased to continue our relationship with the Commonwealth of Virginia that my father established 41 years ago.”