Hey there folks. I’m uber busy right now, but I just wanted to get this news out there…
Victor MacFarlane, the San Francisco real estate executive who has spearheaded D.C. United’s pursuit of a new stadium, has sold his stake in the MLS club to business partner Will Chang, team officials announced today.
“It has been an exciting and challenging last few years for D.C. United,” MacFarlane said in a written statement.
Chang, also based in San Francisco, will now have an estimated 98 percent controlling interest in United. The remainder of the investment is held by former Duke basketball players Brian Davis and Christian Laettner, who are also in the real estate business.
I’ll say I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it, but on the whole it’s probably good.
With MacFarlane in the mix as an owner any stadium deal DC United looked at had to have ancilliary business development around and/or attached to the stadium. That was how they would make money is by using the stadium as a centerpiece to a mixed-use development where they can later sell or lease commercial property around a stadium in addition to getting revenue from the stadium itself for sporting and other events (like concerts n such).
Well, Mayor “asshat” Fenty nixed the development at Poplar Point, and we were recently rebuffed by PG County. So I think MacFarlane saw the writing on the wall that there was no way to get a development done in this economic climate using significant funds from the community. And his real estate holdings aren’t enough leverage to get good loan terms to pay for it himself like it was in the initial Poplar Point proposal (way to go Fenty). So as I see it, his options were to hang in there until the economy turns enough where he can finance most of the development himself, or the community doesn’t feel so bad footing 75% of the bill for the development. Neither of which, in my opinion, are happening anytime soon.
So, he chose to get out. I don’t blame him, frankly.
Going forward for DC United, I think this means that Chang is going to be more open to building “just” a stadium without ancilliary development. This may mean it will be easier to get a stadium since it will be less expensive and won’t require as big of a footprint. It also means that the stadium can go in places where no one cares about development like at the existing RFK stadium site.