Mar 29, 2024 - News

Capital One Arena deal could mean an end for nearby streeteries

Ted Leonsis in a red jacket looking up against a black background

Ted Leonsis. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Ted Leonsis' terms for the Wizards and Capitals deal include some major "gets" — $515 million from D.C., a splashy training facility — but there's at least one wishlist item that's uncertain: the end of Sixth Street streeteries.

Why it matters: Nixing a streetery or two may seem like small potatoes to keep two major sports teams in the city, but some view the request as an extra flex by the billionaire.

Catch up quick: Leonsis isn't a fan of streeteries by the stadium's rear loading dock, which partially take up a lane of traffic. In an interview last month explaining his desire to relocate to Alexandria, Leonsis said Capital One Arena was "squeezed in," partly blaming outdoor dining. "It made [Sixth Street] one lane. People can't park. People can't make U-turns. We can't get the trucks [for events] in."

  • In an email to employees before the big announcement Wednesday that was shared with Axios, Leonsis outlined the terms of the deal, including "No streeterie on 6th."

Reality check: The six-lane street is sparsely occupied by outdoor dining. Daikaya and its adjoining restaurant, Tonari, have the lone streetery by the loading dock, with 40 seats — not big there, but significant for the business.

  • On the flip side, another of Leonis' terms is the ability to close off nearby F Street for two hours before games.
  • Plus, the deal isn't set in stone. It still needs approval from the D.C. Council.

What they're saying: Daikaya Group, which has operated its ramen shop and izakaya for over a decade by the arena, tells Axios they haven't been contacted by Leonsis or the city "regarding any potential impact on our streeteries."

  • The group, which fought hard to keep its businesses afloat in the pandemic, says they're "thrilled" about the teams staying put.
  • As for nixing streeteries: "If true, it would undoubtedly have an impact on our sales and we'd be eager to speak with Monumental Sports and local officials to discuss a path forward."

The other side: Monumental executive Monica Dixon tells Axios that the company sees streeteries as a logistical challenge for buses and loading trucks.

  • It "just showed up," says Dixon of Daikaya's outdoor dining, which was built in 2021. "We came to work one day and it was there … Did people think about the fact that that's our loading zone? I think that's what a lot of the frustration was."

Between the lines: Streeteries are a hot topic in other densely populated D.C. neighborhoods, like Georgetown, where some argue they're good for businesses and vibrancy, while others say they clog parking and increase traffic.

  • The city's temporary Streatery Program and its permits, established during the pandemic to allow restaurants to operate outside, expire at the end of this year.

What we're watching: Another Leonsis lament, noisy street buskers, are also included in the terms. Monumental proposes creating an 'Entertainment District' around the arena with rules against vending, loitering, and noise.

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