The District of Columbia is looking for a contractor to decommission and demolish RFK Stadium, a sports venue that has served the city for nearly 60 years. Located on a 190-acre federally owned campus along the Anacostia River, the 47,000-seat multipurpose stadium had exceeded its useful life, according to the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, also known as Events DC.
Originally called District of Columbia Stadium and renamed following the assassination of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1969, RFK hosted Washington’s professional football, baseball and soccer teams, as well as major outdoor concerts and other special events. RFK’s attractiveness faded in recent years, especially as teams constructed their own sport-specific facilities and new concert venues came on line. Events DC says the stadium's $3.5-million upkeep cost exceeds revenue generated by the handful of events staged there each year.
While no schedule for selection has been announced aside from the October 22, 2019, proposal deadline, Events DC is eying substantial completion to be completed by fall 2021, with an eye toward acquiring the property from the government for redevelopment.
Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive of Events DC, said in a statement that the expected months-long process to decommission and demolish RFK will require significant planning, labor and due diligence. “That’s why it is imperative for us to identify a qualified contractor who will assist us in the planning and regulatory process, including impact to the surrounding neighborhoods and any environmental effects,” O’Dell added.
According to the September 5 RFP for demolition services, the concrete and steel-frame open-air stadium totals nearly 800,000 gross sq ft across five levels. The lump-sum contract’s scope of work calls for “abatement, selective demolition, super structure demolition, cutting/capping of utility infrastructure, removal and disposal of all debris and contaminated soils, and filling and grading the site.”
The site’s post-demolition future is unclear, as the District’s lease with the National Park Service limits campus-wide uses to sports and recreation. Events DC has laid out a short-term development plan that would be constructed over two to five years. Included are new indoor and outdoor recreational facilities, a 47,000-sq ft food and concessions building, bike paths and improved access to two Anacostia River islands.
District officials have also expressed interest in purchasing the campus, which would expand the site’s economic development potential, including the possible construction of a new professional football stadium. Such a move requires Congressional approval, however, and legislation introduced earlier this year by the District’s non-voting delegate has made little progress.
This story was updated with a photograph and more information on Sept. 12.