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Monumental reaches deal with District (with more than $500 million in funding) to renovate Capital One Arena

Washington Construction News staff writer

The owner of two major league sports teams have decided to stay in the District with what is described as a “transformative renovation and modernization” of Capital One Arena. The DC government will invest $500 million in the project.

In the process, Monumental Sports and Entertainment will abandon its plan to relocate the Wizards and Capitals to a new entertainment complex in Alexandria, VA.

In a March 27 announcement, Monumental chairman, founder and CEO Ted Leonsis, District Mayor Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announced the agreement, which includes an expansion of Monumental’s business and hospitality operations next door into Gallery Place for a revitalized entertainment destination Downtown.

“I look at outcomes, not process, and we got to the right outcome,” Leonsis said in a statement. “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, the Monumental statement says. 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,” Bowser said in the statement. “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.”

“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 sq. ft. 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
Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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