On June 8th, the District of Columbia will celebrate the ribbon cutting of “The Fields at RFK”—phase 1 of an ambitious plan to redevelop the outmoded RFK Stadium site into a bustling campus.
While you wouldn’t know it from the 27 acres of recreational fields and amenities about to open to the public, the site where The Fields now sit was previously a sea of asphalt known as parking Lot 7. In the place of asphalt, the community now has an incredible space in which to gather, complete with multi-purpose sports fields; a pavilion for events, festivals, farmers markets, and the like; a large playground; restrooms; bike and walking paths; and more. This sportsplex and community park will also draw outsiders to the area for events like sports tournaments.
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District, recently announced the exclusive operator for the fields, Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park (CRYSP). A press release quotes Gregory A. O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC, as saying, “CRYSP shares our forward-thinking commitment to finding innovative and creative approaches to better serve our city’s neighborhoods by bringing sports and entertainment activities that will drive economic development and opportunities.”
B&D led RFK’s campus master planning and is currently serving as the owner’s representative for the implementation. Projects like these are complex and years-long endeavors, but can offer cities and institutions immense value—both in an economic and community-building sense. In the case of the RFK Campus, an area of focus has been financing and partnerships, wherein development approaches are being tailored to the individual project (e.g., fields, market hall, sports and recreation complex, RFK memorial). The goal is to ensure the best product at the best price—whether that means self-developing, partnering with a private entity, or partnering with local and national public-sector entities. Such partnerships are increasingly being explored for sports and community recreational facilities. One example of this is the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, which partnered with the City of Albany to build athletic fields; read the full story.