A Coffee Shop May Be D.C.’s Best Shot At Its Next Soccer Superstar
Soccer star Wayne Rooney, who joined D.C. United ahead of the opening of its new Audi Field stadium last year, is leaving the team, and the club's best chance at replacing him may hinge on a retail space inside the stadium.
Arsenal star Mesut Özil is reportedly planning to meet with D.C. United ownership, and that meeting will center around a new coffee shop the player is opening at Audi Field, The Athletic reports. The Washington Post reported this week Özil's agent toured the stadium and met with team officials.
Özil owns 39 Steps Coffee, a chain with three locations in the United Kingdom. It now appears to be opening another at Audi Field, where a corner retail space has exterior branding bearing the 39 Steps Coffee logo.
The star's meeting with D.C. United ownership is expected to include discussion of the coffee shop, but it could also feature talk of the next steps in Özil's soccer career, The Athletic reported. In February 2018, he signed a three-and-a-half-year contract extension that pays him a weekly salary of £350K, or about $425K, making him the highest-paid player in the Premier League, The Independent reported.
D.C. United built 15K SF of retail along with the 20,000-seat stadium that opened last summer on Southwest D.C.'s Buzzard Point, but the retail did not have tenants as of January. The club is also looking to add more retail in a mixed-use development next to the stadium, for which it selected PN Hoffman as a partner in May.