Virginia Panel Approves Plan for Proposed Sports Complex in Alexandria

The hope is to lure the Washington Wizards and Capitals to the area

reprints


A dozen state lawmakers in Virginia voted unanimously to approve a plan to construct an 8 million-square-foot sports and mixed-use campus in Alexandria, Va., hoping to lure the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals from Washington, D.C.

If the project moves forward, it would be in partnership with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the NBA and NHL franchises. 

SEE ALSO: Sunday Summary: Retail of the Tape

The vote, which took place Monday by the state’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission, approved a new sports district which would consist of a new arena for both teams to use, a 3,000-seat music and entertainment venue, a conference center, hotels, and the headquarters for Monumental. 

The complex would be built on land owned by JBG Smith (JBGS) Properties in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood, according to The Washington Post. Monumental would lease the Alexandria property for 30 years, according to the paper. 

Monumental has not said whether it would definitely move the pro teams from D.C. to Virginia, and requests for comment have not been immediately returned. It was unclear whether the development would go forth without an agreement to bring the teams to the area. 

If the project did go forward, Monumental would contribute hundreds of millions of dollars of its own into the project, two people briefed on the matter told the Post.

The plan further calls for Virginia to create a stadium authority to build and own the mixed-use development, which would allow the developers of the project to utilize municipal bond rates to finance construction.

“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 so that we can continue to reinvest in our fans and community,” the company said in a statement. “Our commitment to the DMV is unwavering and we look forward to sharing plans for future investments.”

The project would next need to be passed by the Virginia General Assembly and the Alexandria City Council. Both votes are scheduled for early 2024. 

A new Metro station recently opened in Potomac Yard, and the neighborhood is the future site of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Center. It’s also nearby Amazon’s HQ2.

While it’s no lock that Monumental would move its teams from the Capital One Arena in Downtown D.C., owner Ted Leonsis has hinted that he would be open to move the teams. The company recently requested $600 million in public funding from the District for a planned renovation and if not approved, that could be the catalyst for a move.

“We are hoping to undergo major redevelopments soon that will change much of the external part of the building,” Leonsis wrote on his Ted’s Take blog earlier this year. “The visions and plans for Capital One Arena 2.0 are major, but the fans, players and employees deserve it.”

The arena opened in 1997, and Monumental’s ground lease is set to expire in 2027. Monumental owns the arena but leases the land from the District.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.