Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has withdrawn from efforts to persuade NFL American football franchise the Washington Redskins to build a new stadium at the Oxon Cove Park site, as his administration targets other uses for the land.
The decision marks an about-turn after Hogan confirmed in December that he had negotiated a nonbinding land swap with U.S. Interior Department officials that could have allowed the Redskins to build a proposed 60,000-seat stadium on the parcel of federal land in Prince George’s County.
Amelia Chasse, communications director for the Governor, told the Washington Post newspaper: “We are not continuing discussions with the Redskins regarding this site at this time, however we are moving full steam ahead with acquiring state control of the Maryland Gateway in Prince George’s County from the federal government.
“We believe this site holds significant potential benefits for the region and the state, as does the proposal to expand protected federal parkland in Western Maryland. We are working closely with our federal partners to finalise the transfer.”
The Post noted that the Oxon Cove proposal had been met with considerable opposition when it first emerged. As a national historic district that includes a living farm museum operated by the National Park Service, the stadium proposal drew criticism from environmental groups and other parties, as well as local politicians who felt they had been left out of the loop on the plans.
The Redskins currently call FedExField (pictured) home and are contractually obliged to play at the stadium until September 2027. The team moved to the 82,000-seat facility, five miles east of Washington D.C. in the state of Maryland, in 1997. However, owner Daniel Snyder is keen to secure a new stadium and another option is RFK Stadium, located around two miles east of the US Capitol building, and home to the Redskins from 1961 to 1996.
The Post said the RFK site is Snyder’s first choice and a return has been backed by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. However, the newspaper added that significant political hurdles remain as the 190-acre package of land is owned by the federal government. This means that district officials would need to convince Congress to grant the land to the city or extend a long-term lease, along with approval for commercial development.