Leonsis And Youngkin Have A Tentative Deal To Build A Virginia Arena Village

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Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) and Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Tampa, Fla.
(AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Virginia politicians need to approve a spending plan for the project.

The owner of the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards and the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals, Ted Leonsis, has a tentative deal with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to move his two businesses across the Potomac River to Alexandria, Virginia. That part is now out of the way. Leonsis may now have enough room to build an arena-village that would include a home for his  sports franchises. But there are a number of hurdles to overcome before a shovel is placed into the ground. Youngkin has to find political allies as he needs to persuade the Virginia General Assembly in the 2024 session to approve the creation of a Virginia Sports and Entertainment Authority, a public entity with the ability to issue bonds. Those bonds would be repaid partly by tax revenues from the arena-village.

Meanwhile, Washington, D. C.’s mayor, Muriel Bowser is not going to go away quietly in the night. The Washington mayor has a proposal on the table to update the city’s arena designed to make Leonsis more money. “The modernization of the arena will be an invaluable investment for continued success and our future prosperity,” Bowser said in a statement. “This proposal represents our best and final offer and is the next step in partnering with Monumental Sports to breathe new life and vibrancy into the neighborhood and to keep the Washington Wizards and the Washington Capitals where they belong in Washington, DC.” Youngkin and Bowser are now bidding for Leonsis’s businesses. Virginia has no major league sports franchises that play games in the commonwealth. The National Football League’s Washington Commanders ownership has its training facility in Virginia. There is the claim that the proposed arena village would create 30,000 jobs from various businesses that would set up shop on the land. The DC-Virginia arena game is underway.

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Governor Glenn Youngkin Portrait with Flag
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin