New Nationals Ballpark
Nationals Ballpark, the planned new ballpark for the Washington
Nationals of Major League Baseball, is projected to open in April 2008.
It will be located along the Anacostia River in southeast Washington,
D.C., and will replace the Nationals' current facility, RFK Stadium. The
new ballpark is being designed by HOK Sport and Devrouax & Purnell
Architects and Planners, will seat 41,000 fans, and is projected to cost
at least $535 million. It will sit across the river from the D.C. United's
proposed soccer-specific stadium at Poplar Point. The site is
Metro-accessible via the Navy Yard station. Fans will be able to view
the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol Building from certain
upper deck seats and terraces of the stadium. It is unknown if the
naming rights will be sold to a corporation.
The ballpark is being constructed on a 21-acre plot of land in the Near
Southeast area of the District. While near the Anacostia river, the site
is actually landlocked, bounded by South Capitol Street to the west, N
Street to the north, 1st Street, SE to the east and Potomac Avenue to
the south. The park itself will face to the north-northeast, in the general
direction of the U.S. Capitol (located approximately 15 blocks away)
and Union Station.
The park's orientation was the subject of a fair amount of controversy
in the local media, as the park was expected to have a full view of the
Capitol's famous dome. However, construction of proposed stadium
parking garages and future commercial development on plots north of
the ballpark will block direct view of the Capitol from most seats in the
park. The Capitol (and Washington Monument) will be viewable from
certain sections of the park's upper deck.
Nationals Ballpark will be located just one block south of M Street, SE, a main (and until very recently, underused) artery bisecting Southeast and
Southwest Washington, DC. The ballpark will also be accessible from I-395 via the Southwest Freeway as well as I-295 via the Frederick
Douglass Bridge (which carries South Capitol Street across the Anacostia River). A new Douglass Bridge is in the planning stages, although
completion is not expected until at least 2010.
The new ballpark will also be accessible via Metro's Navy Yard station, which is served by the Green Line. The station, which is located just a
block and a half from the ballpark's future gate in left-center field, is expected to be heavily used by fans on game day. Plans call for the Navy
Yard station's ballpark entrance and farecard mezzanine to be expanded, along with the addition of an extra escalator and elevator to handle the
Other options, such as Metrobus access, satellite parking arrangements and even watertaxi service, have been discussed in the media, but no
specific plans have been announced to date.
Financing for the stadium was expected to be provided by a banking syndicate led by Deutsche Bank. However, finalization of the financing deal,
as of December 2005, stalled due to complex negotiations between the city government, MLB as owner of the team, and the bank. The bank
requested a letter of credit or comparable financial guarantee against stadium rent to cover risks such as poor attendance or terrorism. The
requested guarantee was $24 million, $6 million for each of the four years of stadium construction. The city had requested that MLB provide the
guarantee. The financing situation was since solved and construction began in May 2006.
The site of Nationals Ballpark was chosen by Mayor Anthony Williams as the most viable of four possibilities for a future ballpark. The ballpark's
design was released to the public at a press conference on March 14, 2006. Ground breaking was in early 2006.
The ballpark will have 41,000 seats and will feature 66 suites, all around the infield. Other amenities include the "Oval Office bar." Team
President Stan Kasten also said that the team might sell the naming rights to the levels of the luxury suites, which bear the names of presidents
Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. While the city has agreed to spend up to $611 million dollars, Kasten has stated that the principal owners,
the Lerner family, are spending tens of millions of dollars more on "jazzing up up the park."
On March 13, 2007, president of the Washington Nationals, Stan Kasten announced that not only was the Nationals new ballpark on schedule to
be ready by Opening Day 2008, but there would be a grove of cherry blossoms located just beyond the left field bleachers. Kasten stated that
the cherry blossoms will provide a look that Americans only associate with the nation's capital.
Construction Photos of the new Stadium