Deal for Wizards and Capitals is a Major Win for Downtown D.C.

Last week, downtown D.C. received another huge boost when it was announced that Mayor Bowser and Monumental Sports entered into a non-binding agreement that will keep the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals playing in Capital One Arena for decades to come.  The announcement came only weeks after Mayor Bowser unveiled the “Housing in Downtown” tax-incentive program, which is meant to spur office-to-residential conversions and create a livelier mixed-use neighborhood in downtown D.C.

The real estate community was holding its breath while sadly contemplating a quieter downtown without fans rocking the red.  Thankfully, Monumental’s dalliance with moving the Wizards and Capitals to Alexandria, Virginia was short-lived.  Retaining the teams in Chinatown is critical to the larger plans and need to revitalize the downtown D.C office market.  The sporting and entertainment events held at Capital One Arena draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and pump money into the local economy, not to mention creating the dynamic atmosphere that makes Chinatown and surrounding neighborhoods more inviting for residents and office workers.

From a land use and planning perspective, the agreement between the mayor and Monumental Sports presents interesting possibilities.  In addition to reimagining portions of Chinatown around Capital One Arena, Monumental Sports wants to build a practice facility for the Wizards in a more convenient location.  Potential locations such as Gallery Place, U Street, and the RFK site are being floated.  Although a practice facility attracts fewer visitors than an arena, it will command a large footprint and require thoughtful planning in a city with scarce land resources.

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Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

Cozen O’Connor has represented residential, commercial, retail, and industrial builders in the development and redevelopment of building lots and millions of square feet of real estate. Our team handles every aspect of the zoning, land use, and development approvals process, from obtaining building permits and variances to negotiating stormwater management and traffic plans.

Head of the DC Zoning Group & Blog Editor