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DC and Ted Leonsis announced “deal to transform and expand the Capital One Arena into a state-of-the-art urban arena that will be the home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals through 2050.”

[More reaction, including from AG, Councilmembers, the Developer and Monumental, after the jump.]

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chairman Phil Mendelson and Members of the Council of the District of Columbia, and Chief Executive Officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis announced that they have reached a deal to transform and expand the Capital One Arena into a state-of-the-art urban arena that will be the home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals through 2050.

“We are going to have a state-of-the-art urban arena in Downtown DC and that’s a great deal for DC, for the teams, and for the fans,” said Mayor Bowser. “We made a great offer – and kept that offer on the table – because we have known all along that this is a win-win for our city and the teams. This is a catalytic investment in Downtown DC. We are excited to have Monumental as our partners in DC’s Comeback and we look forward to working together to win for DC.”

“I look at outcomes, not process, and we got to the right outcome,” said Ted Leonsis. “I know this was a difficult process and I want people to understand how much I love Washington D.C. and how much I’ve always loved Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser and her team heard us and worked with us and gave us the tools for us to meet the needs of our business to expand right here in downtown. We are going to have time to talk about our experience in Virginia, but that is not today. Today is about staying in D.C. and is about what the Mayor and Council have done in downtown D.C. We got to this place because we kept an honest dialogue with the Mayor and her staff and we both took the high road as we didn’t know how things would end. This is more than an investment from the city – it’s a true partnership demonstrated by all of these investments which the city has committed to for our fans to have an exceptional gameday experience.”

The District of Columbia Government will provide $515 million toward the catalytic project, underscoring the District’s commitment to the complete renovation of the arena and the transformation of Downtown DC. Ensuring the arena’s continued prominence as a premier destination for sports, concerts, and events will anchor Gallery Place/Chinatown as a world-class entertainment district in Downtown DC.

“Monumental Sports has been a great partner with the District since acquiring the Arena nearly 14 years ago. We’re ecstatic to keep them as a cornerstone of our Downtown. As we’ve said all along: our government is able to move quickly and follow through on our commitment,” said Chairman Mendelson. “With the extended relationship with Monumental, we’re looking forward to the reinvigoration of Gallery Place/Chinatown.”

With a total projected cost at approximately $800 million, the complete renovation will encompass extensive upgrades to the arena that modernize and improve the overall fan experience, as well as expand retail and concessions and improve the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic so that Monumental Sports & Entertainment can continue to attract top-tier events. The project will also drive increased tourism and revenue, thereby benefiting local businesses, not to mention new construction and other job opportunities.

“Keeping the Wizards and Capitals in our Nation’s Capital has always been the right move for the vitality of our downtown. Our residents want the entertainment and sports programming the venue brings, as well as expanded access to job and economic opportunities for decades to come,” said At-Large Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development Kenyan McDuffie. “I look forward to working with the teams and our communities as we build the right future for the Arena and DC.”

The Capital One Arena modernization and expansion places a strong emphasis on continuing Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s commitment to community engagement and provides a renewed focus on youth and family. Enhanced accessibility features will ensure that the arena remains accessible and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds and abilities. Collaborative initiatives with local organizations will promote youth development and wellness programs, fostering a sense of unity and empowerment within the community.

With the District of Columbia Government’s substantial investment, coupled with a commitment to community engagement and economic development, the project is poised to redefine the arena’s role as a catalyst for a strong comeback in the nation’s capital.”

From JBG SMITH:

“Statement from Matt Kelly, CEO, JBG SMITH to stakeholders:

Dear JBG SMITH Stakeholders:

In December, we announced plans to develop an entertainment district in Potomac Yard, anchored by the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards and the Monumental Sports & Entertainment corporate headquarters. Today it was announced that discussions between Monumental, Alexandria and the Commonwealth of Virginia have been terminated. While we had made great strides in advancing the project’s transportation plan, overall design and financing structure, the opportunity was derailed largely due to partisan politics and, most troubling, the influence of special interests and potential pay-to-play influences within the Virginia legislature.

This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a world-class arena and entertainment district at Potomac Yard and to realize the vision of that community as a dense, mixed-use neighborhood. We are thankful to those who made the opportunity possible in the first place, especially Monumental Sports. We are also thankful to our local partners, specifically the City of Alexandria and its City Council, Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, and the Governor’s office, and the many public supporters along the way who engaged in thoughtful dialogue about how to move this important opportunity forward.

Despite our best efforts, this project was unable to get a fair hearing on its merits with the Virginia Senate. It is now clear that our efforts may have been complicated and ultimately blocked, in part, by special interests seeking to move the Monumental arena to Tysons Corner and to combine it with a casino. The Washington Post and other outlets have reported on this scheme and the hundreds of thousands of dollars, enormous sums in Virginia politics, of political contributions associated with it – a large portion of which were directed to key senate leaders. When one follows the money, the implications are deeply troubling for Virginia and for the future of transparency in economic development pursuits, especially those that seek certainty through the now damaged MEI legislative process.

Beyond the arena, state and local governments will lose needed tax revenue, economic development credibility, and what could have been Virginia’s last best chance to land a professional sports franchise for at least a generation. Economic development and growth thrive on transparency and predictability. The scheming and special interests that plagued this opportunity in the Virginia legislature will no doubt cause future employers and the next Monumental to question whether their opportunity will get a fair hearing.

This opportunity also brought with it the potential to add tens of thousands of jobs and needed housing units, including 1,000 units of affordable housing preservation in Alexandria which we had pledged as part of the arena proposal. Traffic and transportation investments, including possible Metro funding, are also likely gone. Instead, the existing surface-parked, single story shopping center on the site will remain through the remaining 20-year term of the Target lease and development on the remaining land will likely be far less dense. To say we are disappointed is an understatement; we are disgusted with the back-room-dealing and opaque scheming that took place as this played out.

With this chapter now closed, we will continue to pursue alternate uses and amenities to further develop our sites adjacent to the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. We will also continue to work tirelessly to attract business and customers to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the local communities in which we invest, and most importantly we will always conduct ourselves in a manner in which we and our stakeholders can be proud. We thank you for your continued trust and confidence.”

From Attorney General Schwalb:

“District residents could not have been louder or clearer in expressing their desire for the teams to stay in DC, and as the District’s chief legal officer, I will always have Washingtonians’ backs and use every legal tool available to defend District resident’s interests. As I made clear in my letter to Monumental, it was in the best interests of the District and Monumental to resolve differences through negotiation and not litigation. I’m delighted for the District both as a lifelong DC sports fan and as the Attorney General – this outcome will have significant positive impacts on economic development, public safety, and overall District energy and spirit generated by the millions of people who attend games, shows, and concerts at Capital One Arena.”

From Councilmember Henderson:

“At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson released the following statement regarding the recent Monumental Sports announcement:

“As an avid sports fan, frequent concertgoer, and resident of the District of Columbia, I am absolutely thrilled that our hometown teams will be staying here at home. This is a win-win: a win for Monumental Sports, and a win for the economic vibrancy not only of our downtown, but also for the residents, businesses, and workers of the District of Columbia. I look forward to our continued relationship with Monumental Sports, and to bringing more championship titles to Washington, DC.”

From Councilmember Allen:

“The following statement is from Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) on a new deal being reached with Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE) to remain in the District:

“The District and Monumental Sports & Entertainment have reached an agreement to keep our teams in DC at Capital One Arena for the next generation. As I wrote last summer in the Post, this was the deal that the District and MSE needed to make. Capital One Arena is one of the best positioned venues anywhere in the country to host year-round professional sports and events, with three Metrorail stations serving all six lines in a two-block radius, in addition to Metrobus service and Capital Bikeshare. The Arena’s also an economic anchor and job creator for the entire city and will be key – along with investments in our small, local businesses – to Downtown’s transformation into a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. The funding in the deal will change not just the experience inside the Arena but also bring the surrounding sidewalks to life, improve transportation and walkability, and grow a thriving entertainment district supporting small businesses, arts, restaurants, and neighbors.

This deal represents a significant investment by both MSE and District taxpayers in the future of our city. It sends a strong message that DC is where people want to be. And with today’s renewed partnership, Washingtonians are going to get to witness Ovie break the all-time scoring record right here in DC. And we’re going to follow the Wizards’ rebuild in the same arena where we cheered for every Gilbert Arenas buzzer beater and John Wall’s unmatched speed, skill, and passion.

I want to thank Mr. Leonsis, Chairman Mendelson, and Mayor Bowser for their hard work to get to today.”

From Monumental Sports & Entertainment:

“Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Founder, Chairman, Principal Partner, and CEO, Ted Leonsis, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced an agreement for a transformative renovation and modernization of Capital One Arena and an expansion of Monumental’s business and hospitality operations next door into Gallery Place for a revitalized entertainment destination in Downtown D.C.

“I look at outcomes, not process, and we got to the right outcome,” said Ted Leonsis. “I know this was a difficult process and I want people to understand how much I love Washington D.C. and how much I’ve always loved Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser and her team heard us and worked with us and gave us the tools for us to meet the needs of our business to expand right here in downtown. We are going to have time to talk about our experience in Virginia, but that is not today. Today is about staying in D.C. and is about what the Mayor and Council have done in downtown D.C. We got to this place because we kept an honest dialogue with the Mayor and her staff, and we both took the high road as we didn’t know how things would end. This is more than an investment from the city – it’s a true partnership demonstrated by all of these investments which the city has committed to for our fans to have an exceptional gameday experience.”

The District has committed to the previously announced financing of $500 million towards a renovation of Capital One Arena, the home arena for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards. In addition, D.C. will provide an additional $15 million towards improvements of the alley connecting Gallery Place to Capital One Arena. Legislation enacted by the D.C. Council allows this funding through an appropriation for capital construction projects – funded by general obligation bonds..

Since December 2023, D.C. officials have taken concrete action to support Monumental Sports and the downtown community. In January 2024, the Mayor announced the formation of the Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force to articulate a defined vision including and surrounding Capital One Arena and announced the Downtown Action Plan and a Downtown Public Realm Plan to ensure the long-term success of Downtown DC’s commercial core. The Mayor also opened the first Safe Commercial Corridor Hub, in the Chinatown neighborhood staffed by outreach teams from multiple public safety and human services agencies that will be able to respond in real-time to challenges in the community. And earlier this month, the Council passed the Secure DC omnibus legislation with a multi-prong strategy and tactics to combat crime, including a provisions that allows for the drug-free enforcement zone – which has already been enforced in the Chinatown neighborhood.

“We are going to have a state-of-the-art urban arena in Downtown DC and that’s a great deal for DC, for the teams, and for the fans,” said Mayor Bowser. “We made a great offer – and kept that offer on the table – because have known all along that this is a win-win for our city and the teams. This is a catalytic investment in Downtown DC. We are excited to have Monumental as our partners in DC’s Comeback and we look forward to working together to win for DC.”

Sports teams provide incredible benefits to the surrounding community and drive extraordinary economic impact and a strong public private partnership is essential to sustaining both. According to conducted by the DC Business Improvement District, activity at Capital One Arena generated $54 million in DC tax revenue in 2023. As of the close of 2023, Capital One Arena generated $800 million in cumulative tax revenue to DC since the arena opened, and the average visitor to the arena spends approximately $267 inside and outside the arena, further supporting neighborhood small businesses. Across our region, public private partnerships are the norm for professional sports teams: both the MLB’s Washington Nationals and the MLS’s DC United received public financing to build Nationals Park and Audi Field, respectively. in public financing to build Audi Field. The Maryland Stadium Authority recently announced a for Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, each receiving $600 million for renovations and upgrades on top of the original public funding used in .

In the 14 years since Leonsis has owned the arena, he has invested over $200 million in renovations and upgrades – including:

$120+M in capital expenditures on items including roof, all new seats, new sound system, center hung scoreboard, LED lights/bowl lighting, concourses and concession stands, dehumidification, escalators, fire alarm, ice plant, tech improvements, etc.
$18 million for District E Powered by Ticketmaster and other renovations
$60M investment in new broadcast and production studio for Monumental Sports Network
$15M in enhanced staff space for several hundred Monumental Sports employees

“Monumental Sports has been a great partner with the District since acquiring the Arena nearly 14 years ago. We’re ecstatic to keep them as a cornerstone of our Downtown,” said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. “As we’ve said all along: our government is able to move quickly and follow through on our commitment. With the extended relationship with Monumental, we’re looking forward to the reinvigoration of Gallery Place/Chinatown.”

Monumental Sports has the opportunity to expand into additional space within Gallery Place, for both operational and public facing uses, which when combined with our existing District E presence will effectively increase the Capital One Arena footprint, enhance the fan experience and provide much needed back of house improvements. This opportunity allows Monumental Sports to fulfill its need for additional space to support its rapid growth.

“Keeping the Wizards and Capitals in our Nation’s Capital has always been the right move for the vitality of our downtown. Our residents want the entertainment and sports programming the venue brings, as well as expanded access to job and economic opportunities for decades to come,” said At-Large Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development Kenyan McDuffie. “I look forward to working with the teams and our communities as we build the right future for the Arena and DC.”

Additional Deal Terms:

$515 million in cash
This would help us develop the best sightlines for fans, premium hospitality options, better digital infrastructure and other critical improvements to modernize fan areas, enhance player spaces and the fan experience inside and out.
An agreement to add nearly 200,000 square feet of newly programmed space throughout Capital One Arena and in the Gallery Place building next door
Safety Improvements
Seventeen (17) dedicated officers from 2 hours before gametime to 2 hours after game time.
Support our Athletes
New Wizards Practice Facility, with options including top floors of Gallery Place
The Mystics and Go-Go will continue to play in the arena but we are now allowed to designate 4 games per season and all playoff games, should we so desire, to play at Capital One Arena
Larger Business Operation Improvement
Taking control of Entertainment & Sports Arena management to maximize player space and practice courts
Better Transportation-Related Benefits to Support Employees and Fans
Transportation coordination on ingress/egress for events
Dedicated ride share zone and drop off for events
Consideration of moving the bus stop on H Street (which our guests and staff have strong concerns about walk in and around when arriving by metro to COA)
Consideration of 200 parking spaces for arena staff
Better Logistics Around Capital One Arena for More Efficient Operations
As an example, streateries on 6th street across from our loading dock
Truck parking for events
Ability to close off F Street 2 hours before game
Better Management Around the Arena
No vending/loitering/noise restrictions by creating Entertainment District
Maintenance and landscaping around Downtown
Better Coordination on City Processes
Expedited permitting for the renovation/transformation
More Revenue Generating Assets
Expansion of public right of ways with corresponding air rights
Additional signage district around Gallery Place”

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