Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has been wanting a new practice facility for over a year now, and it looks like he may have found the right location for it. While still in early discussion, Leonsis is speaking with Howard University officials and private developers to build the facility on Howard University's campus. The location would be between Georgia Avenue NW and Eighth Street NW on two acres of land. The publicly funded facility is estimated to cost between $25 million to $35 million. According to The Washington Post, the new venue would include two full-size basketball courts, viewing stands, and a weightlifting center, but there's no telling just yet on how big the project it will be.
The District paid $50 million for improvements at the Verizon Center in 2007. For Leonsis, though, there's just not enough space. In a November blog post on the Monumental Network website, he wrote:
"At Verizon Center we currently have only one practice court, no space for seating (we can't adequately open it up to public) and a shared weight room, and the court was marginal at best when it was constructed 17 years ago. We need a fully developed training and conditioning space that meets the needs to today's athletes."Howard University's recently appointed President Wayne A.I. Frederick said that he hopes the practice facility will bring more revenue to the University's budget and add amenities that could benefit the students and surrounding communities. If approved, the Wizards practice facility will be a part of a mixed-use development that will include a health and wellness center and a home arena for Howard University's basketball teams. The developers hired for the project are Bethesda-based StonebridgeCarras and D.C.-based Jarvis Co. Other locations previously considered for the Wizards practice facility include Arlington, Montgomery County and Tysons Corner.
· Howard campus eyed for Wizards training facility, mixed-use development [The Washington Post]