Monday, February 26, 2024
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Potential Wizards, Capitals move to Virginia hits roadblock with funding bill rejected in state senate

It doesn’t sound like the Washington Wizards will be moving to Virginia just yet. Virginia Senator L. Louise Lucas said on Monday that the proposed Virginia Senate bill that was meant to fund a potential new arena in Alexandria, Virginia that would house both the Wizards and the NHL’s Capitals won’t be approved, at least not as currently constructed.

“As long as the full faith and credit of the commonwealth is backing this project, my answer continues to be an absolute no,” Lucas said.

Lucas has issues with the bill because of how it would be funded, which would fall on the shoulders of taxpayers if enough revenue isn’t generated as expected. While the Senate version of the bill looks unpromising to pass, there is a bill in the House of Delegates that could get passed, though it would still need to be approved by the Senate.  

Back in December, Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonisis announced plans with Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin to move both teams out of Washington, D.C. and over into Virginia. It was a controversial decision at the time, one that former Wizards guard Bradley Beal publicly pleaded with Leonisis to not do. And while the move still could happen in the future, the bill presented to fund the new arena doesn’t look like it was be passed at the Senate level. 

The project would include building a $2 million sports district where the arena will be, while also housing a reported 3,000-seat music venue, hotels and the headquarters for Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Leonisis’ business. During an event regarding the new project back in December, Leonisis said that the move was meant to build up the entire DMV area. 

“That notion of community in the DMV really is what our business is about,” Leonsis said. “That’s the higher calling for sports. That is the higher calling on everything that we do – to build these legacies through winning championships from doing the right things in the right way by our fans, so that people can appreciate the community that they live in. It’s no secret that this great airport here was considered Washington National, and yet it’s in Virginia.”

If funding is eventually approved, construction could begin as early as 2025, with the Wizards and Capitals moving to Virginia in 2028.

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