The Washington Redskins are negotiating to purchase US Airways Arena and the surrounding land and would consider moving Redskin Park there if the deal is completed, sources close to the situation said last night.
The deal apparently could be worth as much as $50 million, and it would solve several problems for Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder. It would enable the Redskins to own additional parking spots near FedEx Field, and it perhaps would provide Snyder with a facility in which his Arena Football League team eventually could play.
Redskin Park, the team's practice facility since 1992, currently is located in Ashburn, near Dulles Airport. Putting a facility in Landover would enable the Redskins to have their stadium and training site practically side by side.
Snyder declined to comment through a spokesman.
The arena has been without a professional sports tenant since the Washington Wizards and Capitals moved to MCI Center in the District. US Airways Arena is owned by Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who leases the land from Prince George's County. There have been reports of a plan by Pollin and a Baltimore developer to put an entertainment center on the site.
The Redskins rented parking spaces around the arena to alleviate the traffic problems that plagued the Redskins' stadium following the season-opening loss to Dallas. But club officials would rather own those parking spaces.
The Arena League expansion franchise purchased last month by Snyder and Redskins minority owner Fred Drasner--the Washington Warriors--is scheduled to begin play by the spring of 2003. But it could begin play sooner if Snyder and Drasner can work out certain details, such as where the team will play. So far, their focus apparently has been on the University of Maryland's new arena in College Park, but school officials have said they don't intend to permit pro sports teams to play there.
Sources said there is no specific timetable for relocating Redskin Park to Landover if the deal is completed. One person familiar with the deliberations called it a long-term project that likely would take several years.