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Proposed Design of the MCI Center
paraphrased without permission, from "The Washington Post" Thursday, September 28, 1995, by Stephen C. Fehr and Maryann Haggerty. p. B1, B5.
A model of the proposed $175 million MCI Center has been revealed. The MCI Center will be open from 9 am to 11 pm, all year, and will include shops, restaurants, a sports museum, pedestrian terraces, and a five-level arena for basketball, hockey and concerts. Light will supposedly spill out of its windows like a beacon in Washington, DC.
Groundbreaking for the 20,300 seat arena is scheduled for October 18, 1995. It is to be finished by the fall 1997. Entrace into the arena will be through two main points: in the middle of F Street or the northwest corner of 7th and G Streets, near Chinatown. The canopy over the entrance nearest Chinatown will be in a curved, dragon wall style characteristic in the neighborhood. Around the perimeter of the arena will be four levels of shops and restaurants, some of which will face the street. All of the sidewalks around the building will use red pavers in a basket weave pattern. The oval arena inside will be oriented east/west. The entrance for the Gallery Place Metro station, currently at 7th and G Streets, will be moved to 7th and F Streets.
Approximately 60 percent of the seats will be on the lower concourse, reserved for season ticket holders. On each side of the next level will be the private suites. The third level will be the club section, followed by a level of corporate suites ringing the building. The top level of seats will be the cheapest seats.
Seats will be wider and plusher than at US Air Arena (wtf note: yes! from the 6'6" season ticket holder), and some seatbacks will be equipped with TV monitors that will allow fans to call up instant replays or participate in surveys. According to an architect who is working on the MCI Center's interior, and also worked on Cleveland's Gund Arena, the MCI Center will present a package that hasn't been seen anywhere else.
This is an exciting time for the Bullets franchise. The arena sounds like a winner. I'm looking forward to moving into the MCI Center to watch Bullets games. It's on the Metro, hopefully the seats are bigger, with more leg room. And we'll still be down there in on the action. More on the arena as it becomes available.