Cooke Mulls Loudoun Site for StadiumBy Steve Berkowitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 1990; Page F02
A group of investors headed by developer Mark Tracz is seeking to make Northern Virginia the site for one of the two expansion franchises the National League will award for play beginning in 1993. Another group, headed by developer John Akridge, is seeking a team that would play at RFK Stadium.
Tracz's group has made no decision about where it would build its baseball stadium, but it has a 170-acre parcel on Route 606 -- not far from where it intersects Route 50, just west of Dulles -- under contract with an option to buy it from a partnership. That partnership includes William Bryant, a developer who is among Tracz's investors.
Bryant's company, Bill Bryant Real Estate Inc., is well-established as a major force in transactions involving land around Dulles. Thus, although the parcel Tracz's group has under contract is not large enough to accommodate the stadiums and surface parking lots, it is believed it could acquire additional land adjacent to the parcel.
Cooke could not be reached for comment, and the sources were uncertain about how receptive he will be to the idea. Cooke repeatedly has said the District is his first choice as a site for a new football stadium, and D.C. Armory Board General Counsel Artis Hampshire-Cowan said yesterday: "There is continuing dialogue between staff as well as the principals" -- Cooke and Mayor Marion Barry, who is the Armory Board's chairman.
"Considering other proposals is within Mr. Cooke's purview," Hampshire-Cowan said, "but we will continue in good faith to negotiate and exchange information. We are still moving toward constructing a stadium in the District."
Cooke, whose NFL team's lease for RFK Stadium expires at the end of this season, has said he is willing to build a facility with his money that sources have said would accommodate 72,000 to 78,000 spectators and that would be constructed on what is now RFK Stadium's Parking Lot 6.
About two weeks ago, a source said Cooke's negotiations with the District had become snagged when Cooke again had raised the issue of filling in a portion of nearby Kingman Lake, an offshoot of the Anacostia River, to accommodate new parking spaces. The source also said Cooke had requested year-round control of all parking lots that currently serve RFK Stadium and the Armory and also would serve the proposed stadium.
But another source said yesterday progress is being made on both issues.
Cooke also has said previously he has options in Northern Virginia.
In addition, there are questions about whether Loudoun County's government would welcome a sports complex -- particularly if it has to pay for tens of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure improvements.
But the Redskins already have decided to move their team offices and training facility from Herndon to Loudoun County's Beaumeade Corporate Park, and, given that, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Charles A. Bos said: "It would make sense, perhaps, to have the stadium close by."
The idea of the Redskins moving to Loudoun County "was first kicked around a year ago or more," Bos said. "There have been a lot of primary conversations, but there is nothing formal that the board has done. There are transportation issues and other issues that go along with that, access being the biggest one. Right now, the county is broke. We are not in position to make any large offers."