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MLB Looks At New Site In District

By Mark Asher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 5, 2004; Page D10

District officials introduced to Major League Baseball a potential new ballpark site near the Southeast-Southwest Freeway yesterday during their first face-to-face meeting since July.

The new site "is very much in the picture," said Mark Tuohey, chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission and a participant in the two-hour meeting at the Wilson Building that was initiated by the city.

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Tuohey said the city is compiling cost estimates for constructing a new home, with a view of the waterfront beyond center field. It would be built only if MLB relocates the financially troubled Montreal Expos here in 2005. The club would play in a refurbished RFK Stadium until a new ballpark is finished.

The city might save money on this latest site because the land is owned either by the federal government or the city. But the stadium also could exceed the approximate $470 million cost of each of the other sites currently under consideration. In 2002, the new site was discussed but was not included on the list of 32 potential sites studied by a consultant.

The other sites under consideration are near a Metro station under construction at New York and Florida avenues in Northeast, and on the Southeast waterfront.

Officials invited MLB to the District, said John McHale Jr., who led the delegation of three MLB vice presidents, all members of the league's relocation committee. "It was a good meeting," McHale said after returning to New York.

"We're still looking at something possibly happening in May," said Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), who did not participate in the meeting. He was referring to an owners meeting in May at which time MLB could begin negotiations with the finalists. Also bidding are Northern Virginia; Portland, Ore.; Norfolk; Monterrey, Mexico; Las Vegas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Staff writer Craig Timberg contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company