The Washington Nationals’ Class A affiliate in nearby Woodbridge may soon be looking for a new home.
A proposed stadium deal that would have kept the team in Prince William County has apparently fallen through, and Art Silber, the team’s owner, says he’ll start exploring other options. The team’s current stadium, 33-year old Pfitzner Stadium, is outdated, and Silber has said that he faces a deadline from Minor League Baseball to find a new home for the P-Nats by 2019, otherwise he’d likely be forced to sell the team and it would relocate.
“While we are open to discussing other options with the County, we are now required by Minor League Baseball to also explore other opportunities to obtain a new home that will comply with Major League Baseball Standards for Minor League Teams,” Silber said in a statement on Thursday morning. “Our current home at Pfitzner Stadium for the last 33 years does not comply with these standards.”
It was not immediately clear why the deal fell apart. The team agreed to a nonbinding letter of intent in March with the county supervisors that called for the county to use $35 million in bond money to build a new 6,000-seat stadium. The P-Nats would have then paid back the full amount over the course of a 30-year lease.
County supervisors had planned to hold a public hearing and to vote on a final deal at their July 18 meeting. Silber had urged the county to delay the vote because final terms were not yet set. Silber told insidenova.com that the most recent proposal would be “suicidal business-wise and would create tremendous risk” for his team.
Silber told the website he could explore stadium options in nearby Fairfax or Loudoun counties or meet with potential buyers in North Carolina.
Silber has tried for several years to solve the team’s stadium dilemma. The latest proposal would have given the P-Nats a new home at a site called Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center, just off Interstate 95, which is owned by developer JBG Companies. Silber said he needed to move forward with the plans this summer, otherwise he feared he’d have to sell the team, a Nationals affiliate since 2005, to an out-of-state buyer and it’d be forced to move to a new community.
“I have no interest in owning a ballclub in North Carolina or something,” Silber told the Washington Post in June.
In his statement, the team owner said “we are saddened to report that the parties have been unable to come to an agreement on terms to build a new ballpark.”
“It has always been our family goal to find a way to continue to serve Northern Virginia with the finest in affordable, family entertainment — and great Nationals Minor League Baseball — as we have for more than two generations,” he said. “We will try to keep everyone informed as the future of the team unfolds.”
From the archives:
Aug. 2011: Aging P-Nats stadium to get a facelift
Nov. 2000: Potomac Cannons set their sights on Fairfax