Prince George's looking for leg up to woo Redskins HQ

Maryland officials on Tuesday approved a study that will help Prince George's County decide how much it will invest to lure the Washington Redskins headquarters away from Virginia.

The $25,000 feasibility study will tally up the potential economic benefits to the county -- including Redskins players' multimillion-dollar incomes and property taxes.

Prince George's, which requested the study, is paying for one-third of its cost. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development will match that amount, while the Maryland Stadium Authority, which is conducting the study, will cover the remaining third.

Scott Peterson, spokesman for County Executive Rushern Baker, said county officials have met with the team for an initial discussion.

"You'd have a residential benefit, let alone the roughly 200 jobs that come with the Redskins and administrative staff," Peterson said. "As well as it's sort of a marquee name for our region."

The proposed site for a new training facility and headquarters is county-owned land adjacent to Bowie State University. The location is near the Bowie State MARC station and about 10 miles away from FedEx Field.

According to the May 31 letter requesting the study, obtained by The Washington Examiner, the analysis of that site would include a traffic impact study and preliminary design and cost estimates.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team, which has trained in Virginia since 1971, was exploring its options.

In the original agreement that brought the Washington Redskins and FedEx Field to Prince George's County, a provision was included to give the county the right of first refusal should the franchise decide to relocate its headquarters from Ashburn.

Feasibility studies estimate the influx of dollars and jobs an organization will bring, allowing a jurisdiction to weigh the costs of luring it there in the first place.

When asked about potential tax breaks for the team, Peterson said "that's a long way down the line." But Prince George's has balked before at the cost of luring a professional sports franchise.

In 2009, the County Council got sticker shock and fell short of supporting state bonds to help finance a soccer stadium for D.C. United just months after the Major League Soccer team announced it was moving to the county. A feasibility study had shown that the county's annual tax revenues from stadium operations would range from $1.8 million to $2.2 million.