The Leonsis Alexandria Arena Village Plan Hits A Roadblock

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A Virginia State Senator thinks the financial plan is too risky.

Ted Leonsis, the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards and the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals is going to need some serious help in his effort to build an arena-village project for his business in Alexandria, Virginia which is across the Potomac River from Washington, D. C. Virginia State Senator L. Louise Lucas said proposed legislation that would create local and commonwealth subsidies to help fund Leonsis’ projected $2 billion arena-village is dead. Lucas, is the chair of the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. Lucas has decided that it is not worth the committee’s time to listen to Leonsis and his backers beg for public money for the project.

Lucas said the current project financing does not make sense because of its use of moral obligation bonds backed by the state and the city of Alexandria to finance about a third of the debt. If projected revenues do not come through then local taxpayers will be sending money Leonsis’ way and that is a significant problem. The people who are pushing the Leonsis arena-village plan claim that the arena-village will create 30,000 jobs but those jobs will more than likely be minimum wage positions not living wage opportunities except for the athletes who are performing and various people connected to Leonsis’ business. The proponents contend that money generated within the arena-village will go to education and road improvement. Monica Dixon, who is Leonsis’ spokesperson said. “This project will deliver tremendous benefits for the City of Alexandria and the entire Commonwealth of Virginia, including tens of thousands of new jobs and billions in revenue and economic impact.” No mention about the public’s money going into a private business’s pocket. The question of how just much public money goes into the project and what tax breaks and incentives are available has been unanswered.

L. Louise Lucas is against the publuc financial plan.

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