Potomac Nationals no longer considering Alexandria relocation

Potomac Nationals no longer considering Alexandria relocation
The $35 million proposed stadium in Prince William County the Nationals had hoped to build before negotiations fell through (Courtesy Photo)

By Alexa Epitropoulos | aepitropoulos@alextimes.com

After a short burst of intrigue last summer, the city is no longer considering the possibility of the Potomac Nationals relocating to Alexandria. The Woodbridge, Virginia-based minor
league baseball team is the Washington Nationals’ entry in the “high class A” Carolina League.

Alexandria city spokesman Craig Fifer said the decision to drop out of contention for the P-Nats wasn’t a recent one and that city staff concluded last year that constructing a stadium wouldn’t be in the long-term interest of the city.

Staff came to that conclusion for a number of reasons, according to Fifer, including the cost and scarcity of available land in the city. Fifer said in an email it wouldn’t be feasible for the city to provide land for the stadium, nor did private developers express interest in pursuing a potential stadium.

Other reasons cited by staff, per Fifer, were the substantial infrastructure investment that would come with a stadium, including a parking garage, the Potomac Nationals’ request that the locality be a credit backstop to the stadium bonds if the team and Minor League Baseball did not pay them and the close proximity Alexandria has to the Washington
Nationals’ stadium.

City staff also said the city’s redevelopment in less economically advantageous areas is moving forward without a potential stadium, according to the email.

Vice Mayor Justin Wilson, who initially expressed interest in potentially bringing the Potomac Nationals to Alexandria, said the idea was ultimately unfeasible.

“It was an intriguing idea, but ultimately it requires a private property owner willing to play ball, so to speak, and I don’t think we have that. I never supported or suggested that the government get into the business of trying to subsidize this,” Wilson said on Tuesday. “That’s where we ended.”

“If circumstances change and there’s a willing private property owner, then by all means. But at this point, it’s not something we can move forward with,” Wilson said.

The Potomac Nationals, in their original iteration, played as the Alexandria Dukes from 1978 to 1983. The team relocated to Prince William County in 1984 and has been known by a number of different names since then.

The team announced this week that it has extended its lease in Prince William County through the 2020 season while it continues to search for a permanent home.