D.C. backs off threat to close Nationals Park

The district said it will ensure the Nationals Park can operate through the end of 2023 while a dispute with the ballpark’s owner makes its way through the zoning commission.

The Department for Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) confirmed last week that it had decided not to issue another provisional occupancy certificate for Nationals Park in a bid to get the venue’s owner, Events DC, to honor an agreement to develop commercial spaces around the park . In its original agreement with the city, Events DC said it would build 46,000 square feet of commercial and retail space at the stadium.

On Saturday, the DCRA appeared to reverse itself and said it would issue a temporary habitability certificate that expires on December 31, 2023.

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Since the stadium opened in 2008, DCRA has issued conditional occupancy certificates conditional on the stadium owner making “good faith” progress toward fulfilling its agreement with the Zoning Commission to meet its promised development goal, DCRA said. spokesman Daniel Weaver emailed. He said once those goals are met, the agreement will be honored and the agency will issue a permanent habitability certificate.

But over time, the temporary certificates allowed Events DC to continue operations without fully honoring its original commitments, Weaver said. With the current certificate expiring on September 30 and no sign that Events DC is preparing for construction, agency Events DC said this summer that the city would not be issuing another temporary certificate, potentially requiring the venue to close would force. The agency also required Events DC to file a formal application with the Zoning Commission to properly amend the agreement. which it did on July 29th.

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“Once Events DC has complied with the submission request, DCRA will issue another [temporary certificate of occupancy] ending December 31, 2023 to allow time for the Zoning Commission to make a decision and/or Events DC to submit building plans for review and approval,” he wrote.

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Events DC is the trading name for the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, an independent agency created by the district government that owns and operates several venues around the city, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, RFK Stadium and the Nationals Park.

In its filing with the Zoning Commission, Events DC said the pandemic and other business conditions have hampered plans for additional development around Nationals Park. Instead, Events DC proposed to complete a much smaller, 17,000 square foot structure already attached to the ballpark at First Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE as a retail-only facility.

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