Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

New Sports Center to Host Washington Mystics Opens

Washington, D.C.’s latest entertainment and sports arena will host the Washington Mystics. The Congress Heights arena opened Sept. 22.

An entertainment and sports arena set to house Washington, D.C. professional women’s basketball team the Washington Mystics, as well as NBA G-League team Capital City Go-Go, opened Sept. 22 in Congress Heights and is anticipated to bring jobs and increased economic opportunities to residents of the neighborhood.

The opening of the $65 million arena offers the District more than just a new sports facility, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said in a Sept. 22 news release.

“The Entertainment and Sports Arena is the home our Mystics deserve. But this project is even bigger than basketball,” Bowser said. “The ESA is about jobs, opportunity, and community; it’s about ensuring that every neighborhood, in every corner of our city has world-class housing and amenities.”

The ESA also serves as the official practice facility for D.C. professional men’s basketball team, the Washington Wizards. The Wizards will continue playing their home games at the Capital One Arena, located in Chinatown.

The construction of the new arena is a rare development effort in the Congress Heights neighborhood, which often gets passed over, according to The Washington Post.

The venue was built on the former site of the St. Elizabeth’s East Hospital as a District-led effort to revitalize the neighborhood. The arena is anticipated to create almost 3,000 jobs for community members, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner told The Washington Post.

The Bowser administration announced its plans to construct the ESA in 2015 as part of an initiative to increase economic prosperity in the surrounding neighborhood. The initiative is in partnership with the District’s convention and sports authority, Events D.C., and sports company Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owner and operator of the Washington Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and Capital One Arena, has pledged to invest $10 million in Congress Heights over the next 19 years of its contract on the property, according to NBC.

Bowser was joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the arena by Kenner, Ward 8 councilmember Trayon White, officials from Events D.C. and representatives from Monumental Sports & Entertainment, according to the Sept. 22 news release.

Although the District owns the arena, officials from Events D.C. will manage the day-to-day programming of the ESA, according to Washingtonian.

The 4,200-seat arena will feature cultural and community events for citizens in addition to economic opportunity, said President and Chief Executive Officer of Events D.C. Gregory A. O’Dell in a Sept. 22 news release.

“Similar to some of our other venues like the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and Nationals Park, this arena is important not only for the attraction of new events and experiences to the city, but for DC’s greater economic development and job creation,” O’Dell said.

The ESA will host a variety of entertainment events ranging from sports games to musical performances, O’Dell said in a Sept. 22 news release.

“We look forward to delivering unmatched event programming from esports and boxing to amateur sports and electrifying concerts – starting with our grand opening celebration blockbuster lineup,” O’Dell said.

The venue will host its grand opening concert featuring R&B artist Mary J. Blige and singer-songwriter Jacob Banks on Saturday, Oct. 6. Popular American bands Cage the Elephant and Judah & the Lion are set to perform at the arena’s second grand opening ceremony the following week on Oct. 13.

Other future events will include the semifinals of a mixed martial arts Professional Fighters League in October, as well as the Colonial Athletic Association’s men’s basketball tournament games from 2020 through 2022.

The ESA and other development efforts are expected to bring Congress Heights economic prosperity similar to that of other D.C. neighborhoods, Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commission Chairperson Mary Cuthbert told The Washington Post.

“Development has been very slow and very rare, and that’s why we’re so excited about it,” Cuthbert said. “It’s going to change the whole neighborhood completely. Just as all the other neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., have changed, this too will change.”

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    heleneDec 28, 2019 at 11:53 am

    very nice well done thanks