By Lew Gould

A plan months in the making to move the Washington Capitals and Wizards out of D.C. to Alexandria has collapsed, and  Monumental Sports has reached an agreement to keep the teams at Capital One Arena in D.C. until 2050.

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Monumental Owner Ted Leonsis held a news conference to talk about the announcement. Bowser began the conference by saying how pleased she was to be able to support one of D.C.’s most important employers.

“D.C. is the past, current, and future of the Caps and Washington Wizards,” said Bowser. “Like Ted likes to say ‘We’re going to be together for a long time.'”

The new deal would keep the teams downtown until at least 2050.

“The lease is for the rest of my life,” said Owner Ted Leonsis. “This is a great day and I’m really relieved.”

One problem with keeping the sports arena in D.C. was a lack of space, Leonsis said. Adding that under the new deal there would be room to expand operations downtown.

Legislation to approve $515 million from the capital budget to be payed out over the next three years to improve Capitol One Arena and the surrounding area will be considered on Tuesday, April 2 by the D.C. Council. If approved, the money would be used to help modernize the 27-year-old arena.

Before the news conference, the City of Alexandria released a statement to the public that said the proposed deal to move the Caps and Wizards to Potomac Yard is dead. Although leaders believed the Potomac Yard Entertainment District opportunity was worthy of discussion, final negotiations did not result in a proposal that protected financial interests and respected community values. Therefore, leaders said the proposal would not be moving forward.

“Throughout this process, the City has been committed to ensuring that our role in this project not only added financial value but promised that our core values would remain an integral part of this opportunity. The City was adamant that any favorable consideration of the proposal included substantial and thoughtful improvements to the existing transportation system; included affordable housing; protect our stellar AAA bond rating; protect existing and future residents from financial risk; provided substantial future revenue for city and school services; protected existing neighborhoods; and provided quality jobs for our community We are disappointed negotiations did not result in a proposal that protected our financial interests and respected these community values.”

This announcement comes after D.C. Attorney General sent a letter to Monumental owner Ted Leonsis on March 18 claiming he doesn’t have the legal right to break his lease at Capital One Arena in 2027. He’d have had to wait until the contract is up in 2047, according to Attorney General Brian Schwalb.


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