City Paper is not for tourists
If you’re a District taxpayer, LL hopes you really, really like basketball. Really. Under a just-finalized deal with the Wizards, city taxes are going to be funding roughly 90 percent of the team’s new practice facility-cum-arena at St. Elizabeths.
The total cost for the Congress Heights facility will be $55 million, according to the Post. $23 million of that will come from the District, according to a press release, while $27 million will come from Events D.C., which is funded through tax payments and will operate the facility. Billionaire Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and his company, meanwhile, will kick in a comparatively measly $5 million for the building—-along with $10 million in “redevelopment and community philanthropic investments.”
What’s the District getting for that cash, besides presumably improved jump shots from Marcin Gortat? A press release about the new facility estimates that it will generate $90 million in tax revenues over 20 years, in part by hosting Mystics WNBA games and an estimated 90 non-basketball events a year.
If the new practice facility can really draw that many people to Congress Heights, it’ll be a big change for the Ward 8 neighborhood. Ward pol Sandra Seegars, a Congress Heights resident, says she’ll welcome the new facility—if not for the reasons Leonsis and Muriel Bowser would want to tout.
Instead, Seegars want the police presence that would come with the practice facility.
“It’s their duty to protect white people, so we’ll have more protection,” Seegars says.
Bowser, Leonsis, and Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May will unveil the deal tomorrow morning at St. Elizabeths.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery