D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser went into extra time on Wednesday to meet a major deadline to build a new D.C. United soccer stadium.
Under an agreement with the team, the District had until Wednesday to acquire all of the land for the stadium, even if it meant taking property from a major developer through eminent domain.
But as the courts closed at 5 p.m. the city had not filed suit, and Joaquin McPeek, a spokesman for Bowser’s deputy mayor for economic development, declined to comment.
Almost two hours later, McPeek said that the District had made an after-hours filing, electronically, but offered no explanation for the apparent last-minute scramble in the mayor’s office.
McPeek e-mailed reporters a joint statement from the administration and D.C. United that read:
“The District of Columbia and D.C. United are moving forward on a soccer stadium that will transform a neighborhood on the banks of the Anacostia and generate hundreds of new jobs for District residents. We have created the best deal for the District, its residents, D.C. United and its fans.”
The deadline to acquire the land had loomed since early June as the last major legal hurdle to the stadium planned for Buzzard Point, a few blocks from Nationals Park.
To stave off an 11th-hour attempt to lure D.C. United to Virginia in the spring as progress on the District’s stadium appeared to bog down, Bowser agreed to acquire all of the land for the project by Sept. 30.
Bowser (D) also vowed to use eminent domain to get two key acres from Akridge, a developer that was asked to accept a lower price than surrounding landowners, after the mayor rejected a plan for a land swap.
On Wednesday morning, Bowser had told reporters that her administration had reached an impasse with Akridge and she promised to file suit to take the property by the end of the day. However, the impasse had been apparent for months, and within recent weeks both sides seemed increasingly resigned to a court fight over the sale price for the land.