The owners of the Capitals and Wizards are reportedly asking the District to contribute $600 million for a four-year renovation project at Capital One Arena.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment would contribute about $200 million of the project’s reported $800 million cost, The Washington Post has reported, citing two unnamed sources.
Monumental is also reportedly in talks with with Virginia officials about the possibility of moving to Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood.
A Monumental spokesperson declined to answer questions about the $600 million DC request or the talks with Virginia officials, Bisnow reported on Nov. 6.
“Monumental Sports & Entertainment is committed to delivering the best fan experience, winning championships, giving back to our communities, and becoming the most valuable regional sports and entertainment enterprise in the world,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to Bisnow. “We will continue to make decisions with these goals in mind.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office also didn’t comment on the specifics of the reports.
“The District and Monumental Sports are proud to have had a longstanding and positive relationship that has contributed greatly the vibrancy of this city,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The District recognizes that Capital One Arena serves as an important economic anchor as we continue to reimagine and reinvigorate our Downtown.”
The funds Monumental is requesting from the city would be used primarily for construction, which would begin next summer and proceed over the next four summers to avoid disrupting games, the Post reported.
The Post reports that priorities would include reducing the number of nosebleed seats and creating more seating closer to the floor, adding a food court that would be open outside of game hours and a new glassy entrance at Seventh and F streets, the Post reported.
When the arena opened in 1997 (as the MCI Center), it cost about $220 million to build, equivalent to about $425 million today.
The Chinatown/Gallery Place neighbourhood, home to the arena, has experienced challenges since the pandemic with rising retail and office vacancies. The DowntownDC BID reported in February that problems in the neighbourhood include visible drug sales, the growing presence of people experiencing homelessness, and panhandling and disruptive busking as challenges facing the area.
D.C. owns the land on which Capital One is built, and Monumental has a 30-year ground lease that expires in 2027. The DowntownDC BID report lists extending the ground lease as one of the three major economic development priorities for the area.
“The renewal of the Capital One Arena ground lease is critical to the Gallery Place – Chinatown corridor remaining an entertainment center for the District and the region,” the report says.