Now THAT’S what I’m talking’ about people!
Anything that brings meaningful development, resources, or services to Ward 8 wins in my book. To that end, it seems our sports-minded Mayor is gonna let the Washington Wizards create a new state-of-the-art $56.3 million dollar sports facility—inclusive of a 5,000-seat Mystics arena—at St. Elizabeths. And while not in Bellevue proper, it’s close enough to have more than an appreciable impact on our community.
Details are still being ironed out, but it’s gonna happen–which is all kinds of awesome, considering that past efforts to revitalize that area have stalled (even eliciting suggestions from Ward 8 residents). The even more awesome-er part is that the team will contribute $10 million to the surrounding neighborhood (Wow! We ain’t mad, Congress Heights . . . just a little jealous). The Mayor plans to outline the deal in more detail today (Wednesday, September 16), so I guess we’ll all stay tuned . . .
UPDATE: Quote from Wizards owner Ted Leonsis:
Leonsis’ hope is that the project will be completed in two years after the start date.
“The Wizards would have a world-class practice facility and our fans would be able to watch practice,” Leonsis said. “And then we would attach to that facility a mini arena that would be really state of the art, maybe seat [3,000] to 5,000 people and we can do charity events there and have some preseason games there and maybe the Washington Mystics would play some games there.
“And we’d then also want to bring a D-League team there to the community and we would program it to put it in a part of the city that can really use hundreds of jobs,” he added. “Verizon Center is credited with helping turn around downtown D.C. and we think we can do it again in another community that needs a bear hug and some transformation.”
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[ The Washington Post ] Bowser, Leonsis reach tentative deal for Wizards practice facility at St. Elizabeths
[ Washington Business journal ] Bowser details plans for $55 million Wizards practice facility at St. Elizabeths East