WASHINGTON, June 13, 2006---Local leaders of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) support placing parking facilities for the new stadium underground in order to encourage mixed-use development around the ballpark.
“We support the commitment by the Nationals owners to creating a ‘total fan experience’ with the new ballpark and believe that putting the parking underground will be critical to their success” said Heather Hammatt Modzelewski, president of the Potomac Chapter ASLA. “The stadium site was selected specifically to draw development to that part of the city. The ballpark is a tremendous long-term investment for the city and it should leverage mixed-use development that will create a vibrant neighborhood year-round—not just on game days six months of the year.”
ASLA members point to the Verizon Center as a successful local example of leveraging a sports facility to draw mixed-use development and note that it features underground parking.
“Developers were able to locate retail, restaurants, office space, and housing right next door to the Verizon Center, creating an exciting, diverse neighborhood every night of the year” said Modzelewski. “Above-ground parking garages will waste the most valuable real estate around the new ballpark and detract from the views of and from the stadium. If we don’t create a place people will want to visit, the Nationals will struggle to develop their fan base as well. We encourage the owners to think beyond opening day and consider the long-term viability of their legacy.”