The $65 million (mostly taxpayer funded) Wizards practice facility in Ward 8 just got a new look.
Events DC released initial concept designs for the facility, also dubbed the Entertainment and Sports Arena, at a community meeting last night on the St. Elizabeths campus, where it will be built. Though the Wizards will train there, the Washington Mystics will call the arena home court, and concerts and other events will also use the space. The renderings, crafted by arena architect Rossetti and D.C.-based Marshall Moya Design—the firm behind the D.C. United Stadium—show a sloping 4,200-seat building housing a total 45,000 square feet. The “split-bowl” facility also features exterior retail bays for local businesses, according to the project’s planners.
The arena has drawn scrutiny in recent months because District residents are on the hook for the majority of its development costs as well as any cost overruns. Proponents of the facility have countered that it will make way for hundreds of construction and long-term jobs and that it will generate $90 million in tax revenue over 20 years.
In a statement, Events DC Board Chairman Max Brown called the future venue “world-class.” “Our city deserves an arena that is iconic and this project will fulfill that vision,” he said. “The Entertainment and Sports Arena is designed to celebrate and strengthen the historic Congress Heights neighborhood as well as provide an unmatched attendee experience.”
Joint construction venture Smoot/Gilbane will build the arena. It’s expected to be complete by fall 2018.
Here’s a look at the concepts Events DC has made public: