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Bullets/Capitals Announce A New Arena

At a news conference on 7 June 1995, Abe Pollin, the owner of the Washington Bullets and Capitals, announced details of the new downtown arena that he hopes to open in the fall of 1997. The new state-of-the-art arena will be called MCI Center. Fans at the new arena will be able to select replay angles of on-court plays; ideally, each seat will have its own display for this feature. Details are currently sketchy, but read the ?? June 1995 issue of "Sports Illustrated" to get a feel for the types of services that will be offered in the future.

The new arena will be built near DC's Chinatown, at the Chinatown/Gallery Place Metro stop. The National Museum of American Art is across 7th Street, NW from the proposed location. The current Washington Convention Center is three blocks away. The MCI Center will be bordered on three sides (west, south, and east) by 7th Street, NW; F Street, NW; and 6th Street, NW. The 600 block of G Street, NW will probably be closed (because the MCI Center will be built across it).

Abe Pollin will raise the financing for the construction of the arena (estimated to be around $175 million). The DC government is going to have to spend money on improving surrounding facilities (not sure of the dollar amount); probably includes street improvements, maybe some parking, an undergroung connection to the Metro stop? This is unclear at the moment.

There are some concerns about the space required for the MCI Center. The sidewalks on the three sides close to the street may not be wide enough for anticipated pedestrian traffic before and after games. (wtf note: This is typical for most urban arenas and not a new problem. Pedestrians will spill into the street, no matter how wide the sidewalks are. Police will need to adjust for this concern.)

Ground for the MCI Center is scheduled to be broken in October 18, 1995. Stay tuned here for more details.

wtf 17 July 1995

ps See the 5 August Washington Post article, by R.K. Lewis, for an excellent description of the proposed architecture for the MCI Center.

pps The design of the MCI Center has been officially revealed, as of 27 September 1995. Stay here for more details as they come available.

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