Posts tagged with "Populous":

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Allianz Field, Minnesota United’s new home, glows with PTFE-coated facade

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Completed in March 2019, Allianz Field is a 346,000-square-foot soccer stadium located centrally between Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The project was executed by Populous, Walter P Moore (WPM), Mortenson Construction, and FabriTec Structures, and it features a facade of woven fiberglass clear-laminated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)—effectively a tensile membrane capable of shielding the audience from the elements while transmitting twice as much light as other PTFE membranes.
According to the design team, the client initially approached Populous and Walter P Moore to produce a stadium with a translucent facade. The group was aware of a clear PTFE laminate being developed by French manufacturer Saint Gobain—now known as Illuminate 28—and facilitated the shipment of moderately sized samples from the company. These samples were used to construct a 6-by-6-foot mockup with the material to gauge its tensile and lighting qualities. The design and construction of the stadium occurred as the facade material was being developed.
  • Facade Manufacturer Saint-Gobain
  • Architect Populous
  • Facade Installer Mortenson GC FabriTec Structures
  • Facade Consultant Walter P Moore
  • Location St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Date of Completion March 2019
  • System PTFE-coated fiberglass membrane suspended over steel structural system
  • Products Illuminate 28
The enclosure system of the stadium consists of three interconnected layers: the exterior skin of PTFE-laminated fabric, a secondary backup system of steel driver pipes and armatures, and a circular colonnade of steel columns.
In abstract terms, this enclosure system sounds simple enough. However, unlike rigid cladding materials, the tensile strength of fabric is ultimately determined by the 3-D shape it is stretched into. “We never knew if our fabric shapes would work or not from an engineering standpoint until after the design was complete,” said Populous associate principal Phil Kolbo. “To achieve the design, Populous and WPM had to set up a cohesive process that could design, test, and modify the supporting steel quickly and iteratively to satisfy both the design and engineering requirements of the skin.”
In total, over 90,000 square feet of fabric wrap the stadium. Due to budget constraints, the design team had to maximize the spans between structural components. Utilizing Rhino and Grasshopper 3-D imaging software programs, WPM created nearly 50,000 analysis elements to locate sites where the fabric was overstressed. This information was then exported from Rhino to Tekla software and delivered to the steel fabricator.
“Once we had a fabric and driver pipe design, then it was supporting the process throughout getting the owner, Mortenson, and FabriTec comfortable with the material and construction process,” said Walter P Moore principal Justin Barton. “It started in February 2016 and went all the way through FabriTec’s final installation and punch list in late 2018, nearly 24 months of continual conversation.”
Populous Associate Principal Phil Kolbo, Walter P Moore Project Manager Justin Barton, Mortenson GC Project Engineer Nate Weingart, and FabriTec Structures Executive Vice President Tom Wuerch, will be joining the panel "Stadium Rising: The Complexities of Allianz Field’s Woven PTFE Facade" at The Architect's Newspaper's upcoming Facades+ Minneapolis conference on July 24.
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The U.K.’s largest concert venue will feature 360-degree sound, and everything else

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has revealed renderings and details of its Populous-designed MSG Sphere London, a massive, well, sphere set to sprout up in London. Similar to the forthcoming MSG sphere planned for Las Vegas, the London Sphere, if approved, would be covered in high-tech LED screens both inside and out, so that the event inside can be seen up to 500 feet away. The developer has selected a 4.7-acre site in Stratford, east London, according to The Guardian, close to the site of the 2012 Olympics Park. The 300-foot-tall, 400-foot-wide dome will hold around 17,500 seated guests and 21,500 seated and standing visitors, which would make it, if built as planned, the largest concert space in the entire United Kingdom. Inside, stadium seating will face a central stage, and a massive LED screen will clad the Sphere’s interior to augment the performance. Other than concerts, MSG has suggested that the venue might be used to host everything from award shows to esport competitions—all events that would benefit from an arena-spanning digital backdrop. The Sphere will also hold retail, a café, a 450-person restaurant and club, and a 1,500-person-capacity black box-type venue for local and emerging artists to perform in. Plans for the MSG Sphere London were submitted to the City of London on March 26, though London Mayor Sadiq Khan had already voiced his approval for the project when it was first revealed last February. If the scheme is approved, construction would take three years, and MSG expects that the entertainment dome could be completed by 2022. However, Khan's approval doesn't mean the project will face smooth sailing, as local residents have argued that up to 1,400 new housing units could be built on the site instead. Across the pond, construction on the Las Vegas Sphere is well underway, and the venue is expected to open in 2021. The 18,000-seat arena will feature high-tech perks such as speedy internet at every seat, and “planar audio waves”—concentrated, targeted sound—bounced directly to each guest courtesy the German company Holoplot.
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Populous reveals the Western Hemisphere’s largest esports arena in Philadelphia

A $50 million, esports arena is coming to the South Philadelphia Sports Complex courtesy of designers Populous, Comcast Spectacor (Comcast’s sports and entertainment division), and developer The Cordish Companies. Once complete, the geometric Fusion Arena will hold up to 3,500 seats and will be the largest esports venue in the Western Hemisphere. Fusion Arena certainly isn’t the first competitive videogame venue in the country (before this, Populous’s Esports Stadium Arlington in Texas was the largest in the U.S.), and it likely won’t be the last thanks to the meteoric popularity of esports in recent years. The difference with this project is that the ground-up esports arena will house a Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise, similar to the professional-team-and-home-field-stadium model seen in traditional sports. Philadelphia's new Fusion Arena from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. For the arena’s exterior, Populous took a cue from the angular, high-contrast world of gaming hardware and peripherals. The building’s vertically-striated black facade wraps several colorful overhangs and is reminiscent of a kitted-out gaming mouse in form. Industrial materials were used both inside and out in reference to Philadelphia’s manufacturing history. Other than the stadium seating, the building will hold a 10,000-square-foot training facility for players to practice in, as well as a broadcast studio for livestreaming, and team offices. A 6,000-square-foot, 30-foot-tall entrance hall will greet visitors. When not in use for competitive gaming, it’s expected that the arena will be used to host year-round live events. Fusion Arena is expected to break ground sometime this summer.
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Tampa Bay Rays reveal plans for a pillowy Populous ballpark

Move over Jacksonville Jaguars, the Tampa Bay Rays are the latest Floridian sports franchise to build big. The baseball team announced last week that it would be pursuing plans for an ambitious, $892 million ballpark in Tampa designed by Populous, but details of how the team would pay for the project are still scarce. Tropicana Field, the Rays’ current home in neighboring St. Petersburg, is the MLB’s smallest and the Rays frequently measure dead last in average home field attendance rates. The Rays have conceded a new stadium isn’t technically necessary, but they want to use the new scheme to drum up attendance and enthusiasm. The stadium has been proposed for downtown Tampa’s nationally landmarked Ybor City district, about 20 miles from Tropicana Field. Despite the price tag, the new ballpark would remain the smallest in the league and only seat approximately 30,000, about the same as the Rays’ current home. Capacity isn’t the potential ball park’s draw; that lies in the location and more exciting design. The proposed ballpark’s most distinctive features are the dramatic tilt and swoop of the roofline and the non-retractable glass dome that would enclose the field, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s Dodger Dome. The structural cross-bracing on the underside of the translucent dome would resemble a coffered ceiling when seen from below. Clear glass panels would rise closer to the outfield and meet the lip of the dome as it wrapped around the building. A massive sunshade has been proposed for the backside of the roof, where most of the seating would be. The glass ceiling alone is projected to cost around 30 percent of the project’s nearly $900 million budget. The Rays would also create a multi-level retail podium around the ballpark’s base, with the field itself sitting in the middle and anchoring the development. The buildings at ground level would feature sliding glass walls capable of retracting during nicer weather. The principal owner of the Rays, Stuart Sternberg, explained to the Chicago Tribune that the move was part of the team’s attempt at leaving a legacy in Tampa, which is why the new plan bucks what might be expected of a stadium proposal. The team has admitted that the renderings are, in part, designed to drum up public and private investment in the new stadium. The team will reportedly contribute anywhere from $150 to $400 million to the project depending on whether they can secure a naming rights purchase, but taxpayers could ultimately be responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in bond debt depending on how a deal shapes up. The Rays are aiming to open the field in time for the 2023 season.
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Jacksonville Jaguars will get a master-planned neighborhood by Beyer Blinder Belle

The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team known for their less-than-stellar record, are going big on their home turf. At their April 19th State of the Franchise event, the team announced that they would be partnering with local firm Iguana Investments (run by Jaguars owner Shad Khan) and national developer The Cordish Companies to realize a $2.5 billion, 4.25-million-square-foot mixed-use neighborhood around their Jacksonville, Florida stadium, master-planned by Beyer Blinder Belle. The proposal to redevelop the area around the Jaguars’ EverBank Field, the formerly-industrial Jacksonville Shipyards, is an expansion of the team’s plans first presented during the 2017 State of the Franchise. It also marks the second time that Khan has won the right to build in the area after the city’s Downtown Investment Authority scuttled Iguana’s original plans for the site in 2016. The Jaguar’s latest plan seeks to tie the downtown Shipyards to the rest of the city. To do that, the development team wants to drop a new neighborhood on the waterfront. The proposal would bring office space, a “Live!” arena (Live! is used to brand Cordish venues), dining options, a hotel tower, a parking garage to offset the loss of the lots, and “luxury residential living” on top of the parking lots between the stadium and the St. John’s River. While it’s early on in the development cycle, the renderings show a suite of towers clustered around the stadium, including a hotel building on the waterfront at least 15 stories tall. However, the Jaguars may face a host of hurdles in building out the Shipyards. The project is slated to break ground on Lot J, the stretch between the Populous-designed Daily’s Place amphitheater and a detention pond to the west. The lot’s top four feet of soil is contaminated with petroleum from the site’s manufacturing past and currently capped with a clay wall and asphalt. Any digging in the area would need to be preceded by environmental remediation, and the sitemap released on Thursday leaves out the most heavily polluted sections of the Shipyards. Complicating things further is that both the northern and southern sections of the site present their own set of challenges. Building to the north would mean getting approval from the city government and the military community to relocate a Veterans Memorial Wall to a new Veterans Park along the waterfront. Developing the southern portion towards the river would mean potentially tearing down an elevated ramp at the adjacent Hart Bridge, which would also require action by the city. The project has been designed as a public-private partnership, but it remains to be seen how much the public will be paying for it. It’s uncertain when construction will begin and how long it will require, but as Cordish Companies Vice President Blake Cordish told Jacksonville.com, “Completing full build-out could take a generation.”
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North America’s largest eSports stadium is headed for Texas

The city of Arlington, Texas has put forward plans to build the country’s largest eSports stadium, announcing the move today in a joint statement with global architecture studio Populous and Esports Venues, LLC. If everything goes as planned, the Arlington Convention Center will be converted into a 100,000-square-foot, eSports-exclusive arena rebranded as Esports Stadium Arlington. While eSports are rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S., high-profile events have typically been held in established sports venues and lack the dedicated destination stadiums that their more physical counterparts can claim. Populous is known for its more traditional sports architecture projects, but the collaboration makes sense, especially as the firm released a proposal for a speculative “esports venue of the future” at 2017’s South by Southwest (SXSW). Through a $10 million investment, Arlington and Esports Venues will transform the convention center into a new stadium that can seat up to 1,000 spectators. The transformed stadium will also hold gaming, retail and social spaces, as well as a broadcast studio and VIP hospitality areas. Besides being the country’s largest eSports venue (Blizzard had launched their own smaller project in October of last year), Populous and Arlington are pitching the new stadium as a model of adaptive reuse that other convention centers and stadiums around the country can follow. Arlington is banking on the growth of eSports to fuel demand at the new location, as the funding for the project is expected to be paid through event revenue, naming rights and lease payments from Esports Venues. It’s not a dangerous wager, either, as the value of the global esports industry is expected to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020­, and dedicated eSports venues have been popping up across South Korea and China for years. Designing an eSports stadium does present a few unique opportunities, according to Brian Mirakian, senior principal at Populous, especially as matches could potentially run for several hours at a time. “Because of the length of the event, the way that we see the concourse environments in traditional venues is mainly for circulation. We see the concourse as more of a place for social migration and entertainment,” Mirakian told AN. “Sightlines are very different in esports events, and fans want to be higher up in the seating bowl instead of closer to the stage so they can see the screen more clearly. The demographic is different, the demands are different, and the premium experiences are different.” Esports Stadium Arlington is expected to open later this year.
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Seattle will renovate former Supersonics stadium for WNBA and new hockey team

The West Coast’s ginned-up professional sports team expansion atmosphere has finally spread to Seattle, where Los Angeles–based developer Oak View Group and architects Populous are looking to renovate the city’s storied KeyArena with the hope of bringing several professional sports teams to town. After years of trying to build a totally new stadium in a different neighborhood in anticipation of a new National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, city leaders changed course in 2017, opting instead to greenlight the renovation of the historic KeyArena complex. The change of plans worked—after the city approved the renovation plan, the NHL announced it would bring a new team to Seattle for the 2020 season, cementing KeyArena as the lynchpin of a revitalized Seattle Center sports district. Populous will repurpose and expand the existing arena, which was designed by architect Paul Thiry in 1962 as the Washington State Pavilion for the Century 21 Exposition. The arena hosted the Seattle Supersonics NBA team until the franchise relocated in 2008. The arena is still in use, however, and currently hosts Seattle’s WNBA franchise, among other tenants. The arena was refurbished and expanded once before in 1994 by NBBJ when the architects dropped the arena floor 35 feet below street level and boosted seating capacity by 3,000 seats. Still, problems with inadequate sight lines from the stands, limited opportunities for concession offerings, few club spaces, and deferred maintenance lingered at the venue. With the forthcoming redesign, the architects are seeking to rectify those shortfalls while preserving the iconic spaceship-like structure by digging 15 feet further down in order to expand the facility to 600,000 square feet in size and add even more seating. The new designs would create flexible seating configurations that will resolve the sightline issues while also providing enough seating to host the NHL team as well as the potentially forthcoming NBA team. In all, the new arena is planned to hold up to 17,100 seats for hockey games, 18,350 seats for basketball games, and between 16,940 to 19,100 seats for music concerts. The project is billed as a top-shelf preservation effort as well, and will be designed to meet the historic preservation standards for building restoration. The end result will be a more-or-less wholly new arena, capped by a restored sculptural concrete roof. An environmental impact review is currently underway for the renovations. The City of Seattle hopes to finish the review sometime this year so that construction can commence and the renovated facilities can open in time for the 2020 NHL season.
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New York Islanders reveal plans for $1 billion arena

With the announcement of a new $1 billion arena "village" in Nassau County, Long Island, the New York Islanders will be leaving Barclays Center in Brooklyn and returning to their namesake island. Not only will the Belmont Park arena hold 18,000 seats, but it will be accompanied by an adjacent 435,000-square-foot, mixed-use development. The Islanders had been looking to return to suburban Long Island since they first moved to Brooklyn. Plagued by complaints about poor seating arrangements and the technical limitations of converting Barclays Center from a basketball venue into a hockey arena, the team has now officially settled on the New York State–owned parking lot next to the Belmont Park Racetrack, home of the famous Belmont Stakes. After their proposal to Empire State Development was accepted yesterday, team owners and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the details of the new venue in a joint press conference. While no information was given on the cost of the arena itself, the team’s majority owner, Jon Ledecky, has said that it will be built using private funds. Sterling Project Development has signed on as a development partner, with the New York branch of Populous listed as the architect for the project. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together, as the duo previously teamed up to build Citi Field in Queens, and Minneapolis’s Target Field. Renderings and plans released for the project show that the development will connect directly with the Long Island Railroad’s Belmont Park station, which will become a full-time stop after the arena’s completion; previously the station was only active during the horseracing season. Because that season runs from May to October, there wouldn’t be much overlap with the hockey season, although one of the included renderings proposes converting the arena into a concert hall during the off-season. Other than the luxury hotel, retail and dining options proposed for the “village” section of the project, a large grandstand area has been laid out to the north of the arena that looks down on the neighboring horse paddock and racetrack. More intriguing is how the plans have set aside an “innervation/incubator community space” to the far south. It remains to be announced how that area will be used, or whether Populous will also be designing the non-arena portions of the site, as well. Although the Islanders have given a 2020 completion date for the project, the team might glide back to Long Island before then. Governor Cuomo has urged the National Hockey League to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum in the interim after this season, although Barclays Center officials are hoping that the team will renew its lease with them instead.
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Populous unveils modular soccer stadium for San Diego County

Kansas City–based architecture firm Populous has unveiled plans to bring a modular 10,000-seat North American Soccer League (NASL) professional soccer stadium to the north San Diego County city of Oceanside. The new $15 million stadium is being designed for San Diego 1904 F.C., a proposed NASL team that is scheduled to make its major league debut with the 2018 season. The proposed stadium is billed as an expansion to the existing SoCal Sports Complex (SCSC), a 22-field youth soccer facility known for hosting large summer tournaments. The new stadium will occupy a parking lot site  where SCSC has erected temporary grandstands for international youth tournaments in the past, San Diego Union Tribune reports. Portions of the site were previously used as a sand mine. A rendering of the prefab construction complex depicts seating bleachers wrapped in decorative, ocean-inspired cladding surrounding the soccer pitch. The complex is depicted with an undulating steel canopy shading the seats overhead. An access ramp, permanent concession stands, and bathroom facilities will be included in the development as well. The latter elements will be designed for use by the youth leagues even when the professional stadium is not in operation, as the SCSC complex currently lacks permanent bathrooms and concessions stands. GL Events, a foreign firm responsible for several of the temporary venues erected in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics in London, England, is also on board the project. GL Events and Populous aim to begin construction on the stadium in September 2018. Because of the prefabricated nature of the development, construction is expected to only take four months. The complex will add to the region’s growing list of soccer venues, as competing ballot initiative–fueled plans for new stadia in the Downtown San Diego area ramp up ahead of proposed 2018 elections, 10 News reports. Populous is also designing one of those proposals, which consists of a joint proposal with a Major League Soccer team and San Diego State University. The future of those two projects will be decided at the ballot box next year.
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Populous expands the Jacksonville Jaguars brand beyond sport

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Designed with community and connectivity in mind, Populous has recently completed an amphitheater and flex field adjacent to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ professional football stadium. The project, named Daily’s Place, is the first amphitheater integrated with an NFL stadium in the country. With the grounds of the stadium active only a handful of times per year, the project is a response to a desire to activate the stadium area beyond football season with training events, concerts, festivals, and more.
  • Facade Manufacturer Verseideg and Saint Gobain; 
  • Architects Populous
  • Facade Installer Banker Steel (steel); Structurflex (fabric)
  • Facade Consultants Walter P Moore (envelope and facade consultant)
  • Location Jacksonville, FL, USA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System PTFE over steel frame
  • Products Sheerfill 2 PTFE (Roofing); Verseidag PTFE (Wall cladding)
Two column-free large event spaces—composed of more than 80-percent fabric and steel—were delivered under a close collaboration between design and engineering teams. The entire facility is covered under one all-encompassing PTFE roof system manufactured by advanced polymer technology company Saint-Gobain. The composite membrane, called SHEERFILL, is made of fiberglass and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) typically used as a permanent tensioned membrane structure in sports, transportation, retail, and specialty markets. Design, engineering and fabrication teams used the software in an unconventional way to blur the lines between design and detailing with construction and fabrication modeling. Populous consulted with Walter P. Moore, an international A/E firm, who provided envelope and facade engineering expertise. Erik Verboon, Principal at Walter P. Moore, said the project was very fast pacing, involving a "fluid" digital process. "This could have only been completed under a close collaboration with Populous and a digital workflow that we both harnessed." Design and construction models were shared back and forth between the design and engineering teams, involving an iterative series or Rhino and Grasshopper models. While Populous managed the formal strategy of the project, Walter P. Moore worked through model analysis and optimization that involved engineering and form-finding techniques. The facade involves a series of "V" shaped perimeter columns set inboard from the exterior envelope. The materiality of the skin began as polycarbonate panels, but evolved into an open mesh PTFE fabric to save steel tonnage that the smaller more rigid polycarbonate panels would have required. Above, an undulating roof of Daily’s Place passively cools the interior of the facility by controlling air movement. The resulting “roofscape” integrates LED lighting to highlight its wavelike form, introducing a customizable aesthetic element that can be adjusted dependent on programming. As a result of the scheduling of the project, ordering of the steel framework was on a critical path, however, the sizing and detailing of the steel was highly dependent upon the configuration of the PTFE fabric. Due to this, Verboon said the engineering of the system relied on "coupled models" which dynamically take both structural requirements of the PTFE fabric and steel framing into consideration, producing an optimized, efficient design. "The steel was based on loads of the fabric, and the fabric was based on the geometry of the steel. The two materials were intrinsically linked." (Courtesy Populous).One of the most challenging aspects of the detailing of the building envelope was the location of the roof membrane, which sits below long span trusses. The positioning of the membrane produced translucent ghosted effect, softening the visual impact of the structure, but resulted in detailing challenges with necessary penetrations from steel rail supports and the perimeter structure. At these columns, a unique "top hat" detail, involving a circular flange surrounding a steel drum, developed to ensure a watertight connection.  
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David Beckham’s Miami soccer stadium won’t include parking

Soccer star David Beckham is planning a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium on nine acres in Miami. The one thing it won't have? Parking. In a city famous for its parking structures, this apparent omission may seem like a big deal. Representatives from Beckham's company, though, were eager to explain their thinking at a community meeting earlier this month. “We’re going to be encouraging the use of Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ride-sharing,” Spencer Crowley, a lobbyist and lawyer for Miami Beckham United, told the Miami Herald. “We view this as a paradigm shift for the county as to how people get to large events.” In the spirit of soccer's arrival traditions, fans on foot would march from the nearest Metrorail station to the stadium, in Miami's Overtown neighborhood. For the drivers, Miami Beckham United would reserve 2,000 spots in the city's parking garages, hiring shuttle buses to bring spectators to the stadium. Another idea: A dinner cruise boat (yes) could also dock along the Miami River and fans would walk a few blocks to see the game. When the group showed preliminary renderings of the stadium to residents a year and a half ago, many complained that the volume appeared too bulky. New renderings, by Populous, show an airier design than the first, with a thinner canopy and more apertures to capture the Florida breeze. The stadium would open in 2021, with approvals for zoning changes expected to take a year. This is only the latest chapter in the quest to bring an MLS team to Miami. Last year, Beckham wasn't able to find an investor for the $300 million expansion franchise's home, but now, L.A. Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has signed on to the stadium, and the team could play in a temporary location during construction. Before it can move forward with MLS, though, Beckham's group needs an agreement to purchase the county-owned site for $9 million. The terms of the deal with Miami-Dade County let Beckham delay the purchase of the land until the City of Miami approves his group's stadium proposal. At a public meeting on May 17, area residents came out to voice their thoughts on the new proposal. Residents of the wealthy Spring Garden neighborhood expressed concern that their neighborhood would be overrun with people looking for a place to park.
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D.C. United stadium approved, despite design “disappointment”

On February 16, D.C. United was granted approval by the D.C. Zoning Commission for the construction of Audi Field, the MLS team's new $300 million stadium designed by stadia specialists Populous and local practice Marshall Moya Design. On February 27, this coming Monday, ground will break on-site at Half Street at 3 p.m. The process, however, hasn't all been smooth sailing. Although the five-member committee was unanimous in their decision, zoning commissioners Peter May and Michael Turnbull were reluctant in doing so. "I still do feel like this application left something to be desired," said May. "I am still disappointed in the design. It has been a disappointment all the way through. I hope it turns out better than expected." The stadium will be built at Buzzard Point near the Anacostia River. The site was determined four years ago, but issues raised by the Buzzard Point advisory neighborhood commission and the D.C. Department of Transportation induced delays. Problems relating to public space, retail, parking, and the environment were ironed out in December when the design went before commissioners; the stadium was then awarded prior approval at the time. Even then, however, Commission Chairman Anthony Hood remarked that "major work" was still required with regard to transport in and around the site. In response to neighborhood concerns, the soccer team will donate $50,000 to non-profit organization Breathe DC for the purchase of air purifiers, as well as put in place a bike sharing facility with parking for 447 bicycles. 500,000 square feet (total) of retail space is also now part of the development. Plans, though, are yet to be finalized for parking and traffic management when D.C.'s baseball team, the Washington Nationals, play a few blocks down the road. Aside from the concerns, Audi Field is due to open in 2018. The new stadium will boast a capacity of 20,000 and offer 31 luxury suites. The arena is set to host numerous sporting and cultural events, community activities, and concerts. "We are extremely excited to break ground on this site, a project that has been 21 years in the making," said Jason Levien, United managing partner. "Since Erick [Thohir] and I assumed stewardship in 2012 we’ve been on a mission to deliver to our fans and this community a new, permanent home." D.C. United currently play at the RFK Stadium, the area around of which is the focus of OMA's New York office for a major upheaval. The estimated $500 million proposal includes three ballfields (two for baseball, one for youth soccer), a 350,000-square-foot recreation and sports complex, and a 47,000-square-foot market selling groceries and concessions.