Apr 3, 2024 - News

✅ Capital One Arena deal approved

The exterior of Capital One Arena with people waiting in line at night.

Photo: Craig Hudson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Hours before voting to approve spending $515 million on Capital One Arena, D.C. Council members raised concerns over the signed deal between Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Wizards and Capitals.

Why it matters: The 14-page tentative agreement offers a tax abatement and a bevy of incentives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment — a package that some lawmakers yesterday morning said amounts to a more generous taxpayer investment than originally suggested.

The big picture: Council members were generally supportive of keeping the teams in the city, and unanimously approved the $515 million funding request in yesterday's legislative meeting.

What they're saying: "We want Monumental to be here, but we also don't just want to give up everything and the kitchen sink," said Council member Kenyan McDuffie, chair of the business committee, in a breakfast meeting before the vote.

Zoom in: The deal — which was first circulated to council members late Monday — would "expedite" Monumental's application to finance clean-energy improvements to the arena through a city program that helps subsidize affordable housing development projects, according to a copy obtained by Axios.

  • The agreement also aims to help Monumental grow a lucrative revenue source from digital billboard signs, a rarity in Washington outside of Chinatown. The agreement says D.C. would "propose legislation to expand" the presence of signage in the neighborhood.

Reality check: The term sheet is not finalized and will still undergo negotiations between the Bowser administration and Monumental, deputy mayor Nina Albert told council members at the meeting.

  • Yes, but: "It's going to feel real binding when Ted Leonsis holds it up and says you committed to it," Allen told Albert.

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