Cooke, D.C. Near Pact on Stadium

By Karlyn Barker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 31, 1992; Page D03

Related Items

Return to Stadium Timeline

Return to Stadium Section

Representatives of Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke have just about wrapped up negotiations on a new stadium and hope to meet this week to complete the deal, according to District government and other sources.

Some last-minute hitch could still delay a formal announcement, but District negotiators are trying to wind up talks by Friday, the deadline Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr. has set for seeing any stadium plans that would require the use of federal land for construction.

"The lawyers have made a lot of progress, and the two principals are going to try to meet this week," said a source close to the negotiations.

Kelly was scheduled to be out of town until tonight, and Cooke did not respond to a request to comment on whether a stadium announcement is imminent.

District officials and the billionaire Redskins owner have spent nearly five years trying to work out an agreement to build a $150 million, 78,600-seat stadium next to the District-owned Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the team now plays. Cooke has said he will pay for the complex if the District will provide an estimated $60 million in roads, lighting and sewers.

Negotiations have focused largely on control of the new facility and on how to divide revenue from its use. In recent months, lawyers for Cooke and the city have been working on a separate document to ensure that minority contractors and District residents get a percentage of jobs generated by the stadium.

But recently, the issue of parking has reemerged as a potential sticking point in negotiations. The District has agreed to Cooke's wish to put about 4,000 of the stadium's expected 18,000 parking spaces on nearby Langston Golf Course and on the southern part of Kingman Island, site of a proposed National Children's Island family-oriented educational park.

Interior owns both properties and pressured the District this month, according to sources, to sound out Cooke about putting a parking garage near the new stadium. Cooke long has opposed building garages, but developers of Children's Island say a garage would require less use of park land.

Even if a deal is struck this week, however, many doubt the new stadium would be ready in time to play host to the World Cup soccer final in summer 1994. Cooke's representatives told the National Park Service last fall that he needed to start construction by April 1 to complete the project by then, according to a source. Assuming no opposition -- and environmentalists and neighborhood groups have vowed to fight the project -- it could take eight months to obtain federal approval to begin construction and 18 to 24 months more to build the stadium, pushing the completion date well past the World Cup games.

© Copyright 1992 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top

news | history | schedule | roster | statistics

Redskins | NFL | Sports