DC United have officially broken ground on Audi Field, a $500 million investment to construct a soccer-specific stadium and adjoining development in the Southwest Waterfront District of Washington.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) team’s new home will open in 2018. Legendary United midfielder and current head coach, Ben Olsen, and USMNT and United homegrown product, goalkeeper, Bill Hamid, took part in the ceremony.
United managing general partner Jason Levien, who took over alongside general partner Erick Thohir in 2012, thanked everyone who has worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality over the past five years. He said:
It’s a tremendous honour for Erick and I to be to finally bestow to this club and these fans a world-class soccer stadium, Audi Field, designed to provide soccer fans the ultimate soccer experience.
This process hasn’t been easy, but it has made this moment, shovels finally hitting the ground, even sweeter. Erick and I are grateful for the patience and hardwork that has gone into this process and we’re proud to be a part of this important moment for the franchise, for the league, for the community and for this sport.
Remediation began on the site in December and concludes in March. Next week, United will file for their superstructure permit to start erecting steel structure above grade.
MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, offered congratulations to United and their fans, noting that the most decorated soccer team in the U.S. is finally moving into the home it deserves, the last of the charter MLS teams to remain in their original venue. He said:
Audi Field will create jobs, create opportunity, hope and development. What is now sand and dirt in a year and a half’s time will be a state-of-the-art, world-class facility that’s going to give [Washington] international exposure beyond that which it already has. It’s going to be a great cathedral for our sport. Congratulations.
Audi Field will be the home for DC United, the most decorated franchise in US soccer history and the most championed professional team in the District of Columbia.
Opening in 2018, it will also host a variety of other sporting and cultural events, community activities, and concerts.
The state-of-the-art urban facility has a capacity of 20,000 fans and will feature 31 luxury suites, a bike valet, and 500,000 total square feet of mixed-use retail and residential space on site, making it a 365-day destination for fans and DC residents alike.