Nod for Capital One Arena revamp funding


DC Council approves budget for Capital One Arena renovation Image: NHL

Washington D.C. Council has voted to approve a bill for $515 million in funding to improve Capital One Arena and the surrounding area.

WJLA said the agreement is part of a larger deal to keep the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals playing their home games in the city for decades to come.

The decision was unanimous with 12 councilmembers voting ‘yes.’ One councilmember was absent.

According to the term sheet for the deal, $500 million will go toward arena improvements and expansion and $15 million will go toward improving the alley and connections to Capital One Arena.

The 20,356-capacity Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C. Located in the Chinatown section of the larger Penn Quarter neighborhood, the arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro.

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto said before the vote, “The District’s rapid movement to introduce today’s financing proposal signifies and demonstrates D.C.’s commitment to revitalizing and supporting Capital One arena and our downtown.

“The agreement will breathe energy and opportunity into our downtown through these renovations to the arena, additional opportunities for our entertainment spaces and festivals.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment own the Wizards and Capitals. They said initial terms of the deal include:

  • Developing the best sightlines for fans, premium hospitality options, better digital infrastructure, enhanced player spaces and more arena upgrades
  • Nearly 200,000 square feet of newly-programmed space throughout the arena and in the Gallery Place building
  • Seventeen dedicated safety officers from two hours before games to two hours afterward
  • New Wizards practice facility, with options including top floors of Gallery Place
  • The ability to hold four Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go games, and playoff games, at Capital One Arena
  • Giving Monumental control of Entertainment & Sports Arena management
  • Adding dedicated ride-share zone and drop off for events
  • Ability to close off F Street two hours before games
  • Removing vending, loitering, noise restrictions around Capital One Arena by creating an Entertainment District

The city will pay the $515 million in three installments across the next three years.

The deal also exempts Monumental Sports & Entertainment from having to pay taxes benefitting other professional sports teams in the city.

The ground lease to the teams lasts until 2050 but gives them five four-year renewal options.

According to the term sheet, the only way the teams could leave their ground lease early is if the city fails to pay the renovation funding on time. The three deadlines are on October 30 each year from 2024 to 2026. If the city fails to pay within six months after these deadlines, the teams can break their ground lease after giving a two-year written notice.

Monumental’s plan is to begin construction on arena improvements in the summer of 2025, during the offseason for the Capitals and Wizards, and continue that work the following two summers to prevent interruptions to gameplay for either sports team.

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