The District of Columbia keeps Monumental Sports in town with a new lease ending in 2050 at Capital One Arena in Northwest. (Abdullah Konte/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)

NOTE: This article was updated at 6:27 am on March 29, 2024 with information about Ron Moten and Ted Leonsis鈥 conversation.

Three months, and one failed negotiation, later, and it appears that the 老澳门开奖网 Wizards and 老澳门开奖网 Capitals will in fact remain in Gallery Place-Chinatown for years to come.聽

Ted Leonsis, owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, joined D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), and a slew of other council members on Wednesday evening to make the announcement at , a newly opened space at Capital One Arena. 

A relaxed Leonsis recounted several weeks of meetings he had with Bowser, Metropolitan Police Chief Pamela Smith and other officials — in the midst of his negotiations with Virginia government officials —  that he said gave him ease about staying in Gallery Place. 

As Leonsis explained however, the tide changed with, not only an arena deal that fell apart in Virginia, but Bowser鈥檚 unveiling of her downtown revitalization plan, the D.C. Council鈥檚 passage of the Secure DC Omnibus bill, and a revamped arena deal that expands Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s physical presence. 

鈥淲e treat this like it鈥檚 big business, but we treat it like it鈥檚 a family business. That鈥檚 what the mayor, Phil [Mendelson] and the council gave me,鈥 Leonsis said. 鈥淒.C. is home and the mayor told me we wouldn鈥檛 be leaving. While this is important for the city and the community, we are a profitable business. We generate tax revenue. The community would be attracting more business. It鈥檚 a smart deal.鈥 

The deal will extend Monumental Sports and Entertainment鈥檚 lease to 2050. 

Per Mendelson, the D.C. Council is scheduled to vote on the legislation that allocates $515 million in capital funds toward the renovation of Capital One Arena over the course of three years. 

A portion of those funds will be used to expand Monumental Sports & Entertainment鈥檚 presence into a nearby shuttered mall. 

This arrangement, Leonsis said, represents what he wanted from the District long before he revealed his intentions to move to Northern Virginia

Over several weeks, plans for the move across the Potomac River fizzled. 

Earlier this month, the Virginia General Assembly didn鈥檛 include an allocation of $1.4 billion in the state鈥檚 budget for the construction of an arena at Potomac Yard. That outcome, engineered by Virginia Senator Louise Lucas, an opponent of the deal, followed weeks of organizing by Don鈥檛 Mute DC鈥檚 Ron Moten and Alexandria, Virginia residents against the proposed move. 

In the end, Justin Wilson, mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, that negotiations around the Potomac Yard arena ended. This came just days after the D.C. Office of the Attorney General against Monumental Sports & Entertainment for breach of contract. 

On Wednesday evening, shortly after Wilson’s announcement, dozens of government officials flooded Signature Club & Lounge in celebration of the new deal. 

Moments before Leonsis, Bowser and others took to the podium, , due to what a source told The Informer was an order from higher ups.  

The Informer unsuccessfully attempted to gather comment from Monumental Sports & Entertainment, via phone and email, about the incident. The next day, Moten and Leonsis had what about Downtown鈥檚 revitalization, young people, and go-go music. 

Moten confirmed that the conversation happened. 

On Wednesday, Bowser took on a confident, yet calm tone as she extolled the District’s deal with Monumental Sports & Entertainment as further confirmation that Downtown D.C. is an engine of post-pandemic revitalization.

鈥淥ur tourism is rebounding and we have the highest per capita restaurant startups. We鈥檙e working to drive down crime and [are] coordinated in our approach,鈥 Bowser said. 鈥淲e came together to fight for our teams,鈥 she continued, referencing her D.C. Council counterparts. 鈥淲e stand up to our commitment to $500 million in the transformation of D.C. and we identified opportunities to expand [Monumental鈥檚] footprint for an additional $15 million.鈥 

The Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force, formed late last year, is currently embarking on a plan to transform that portion of Downtown into a nationally renowned tourist attraction and engine of economic development.

In February, the task force launched the Clean & Safe Agenda, intended to bring the downtown business community together with District government agencies in a collective effort to curb crime and substance use throughout Gallery Place/Chinatown. 

Such efforts, task force members said, will pave the way for the jurisdiction becoming a premier arts and culture district. 

Gerren Price, a task force member and president/CEO of the Downtown Business Improvement District, counted among those who celebrated the District’s deal with Monumental Sports & Entertainment on Wednesday. 

He called it the culmination of good faith discussions centered on a common purpose. 

鈥淲e knew [there would be] a time period for negotiations. It was important to lean in with a solid offer,鈥 Price told The Informer as he emphasized the long-term benefits for District residents. 

鈥淭oday’s announcement is great news for downtown and a huge win for the entire city,鈥 he said. 鈥淭he Capital One Arena and our sports teams are a major driver of the District’s economy, bringing in upwards of $60 million a year in net tax revenue to support the city’s overall budget. This deal sets the stage for an even more prosperous future and ensures our teams remain a part of our story for many years to come.鈥

Sam P.K. Collins has nearly 20 years of journalism experience, a significant portion of which he gained at The 老澳门开奖网 Informer. On any given day, he can be found piecing together a story, conducting...

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