A milestone was celebrated in Washington on Thursday, when a topping out ceremony was held for the upcoming Entertainment and Sports Arena. Along with serving as a practice facility for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, it will be the regular-season homes of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the Capital City Go-Go of the NBA Gatorade League.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, Events DC, the District’s convention and sports authority and Monumental Sports & Entertainment with Smoot/Gilbane Sports and the Washington Area Design Group celebrated the topping out of the Entertainment and Sports Arena with city dignitaries and the Ward 8 community.
“Today, we put the top on a one-of-a-kind facility that is already bringing jobs to Ward 8, and there is still so much more to come,” said Mayor Bowser. “This project is bigger than basketball – it is about building pathways to the middle class and expanding prosperity by bringing jobs, entertainment, affordable housing, and more to every corner of our city.”
“The new Entertainment and Sports Arena is a catalyst in the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths East Campus,” said Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner. “Today we celebrate a milestone of transforming this long-vacant project into a thriving and vibrant community.”
In 2015, the Bowser Administration, Events DC and Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced the plans to build this new state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena at the St. Elizabeths East Campus in Ward 8.
“This is a monumental day for the District of Columbia and the Ward 8 community. For more than two years, we have worked diligently with Mayor Bowser, city officials and the community to execute the Mayor’s vision to bring a state-of-the-art Entertainment and Sports Arena to the Congress Heights Neighborhood of Washington, DC, that will spur development and offer new jobs for District residents,” said Max Brown, Chairman, Board of Directors, Events DC. “This project enables Events DC to extend its reach by attracting unique events and new visitors to Washington, DC. Thank you to our Mayor, our Board of Directors, city partners and Monumental Sports & Entertainment for helping us achieve this important goal on the way to completing this fantastic new Arena.”
Along with serving the Wizards, Mystics, and Go-Go–who are beginning G League play next season–the facility will be home to additional entertainment, sports and cultural programming.
“Events DC along with our Mayor, city partners and Monumental Sports & Entertainment are extremely proud to celebrate this important milestone for the Entertainment and Sports Arena project and we applaud Smoot/Gilbane and their construction workers for their hard work and commitment to keeping this project on schedule. The Entertainment and Sports 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. This Arena will serve as a centerpiece for the revitalization of the historic Congress Heights neighborhood,” said Greg O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “We are a world-class destination and with the addition of this 4,200-seat Arena, the District, our nation’s capital, continues to position itself as a vibrant global destination. There’s tremendous momentum occurring throughout DC’s urban core and this Arena reinforces just that.”
“Today marks another important milestone as we prepare to open this first-in-class facility for the Wizards, Mystics and our new G-League team, the Capital City Go-Go,” said Ted Leonsis, Founder, Chairman, Majority Owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “Our commitment to the Ward 8 community goes far deeper than the game of basketball. This project will have the capability to transform a neighborhood and bolster the economy while also ensuring our coaches, athletes and fans have the opportunity to teach, train and cheer at one of the premier venues of its kind.”
In collaboration with Smoot/Gilbane Sports, this project continues to stand behind its commitment to honoring opportunities for local businesses and District residents to bring much-needed economic and civic benefits to the local community. Of the 39 new hires who are DC residents, 46% of them live in either Wards 7 or 8 and 11 Ward 7 and 8 businesses have been hired as subcontractors in trades such as excavation, flooring, roofing and concrete. The project has also exceeded its initial Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) goal set forth with 62% of the contracts awarded to CBEs and $8.8 million dollars worth of contracts have been awarded to Ward 7 and 8 businesses.
“Not only am I so proud to help lead the Entertainment & Sports Arena project – but I am honored to work with an incredible team of some of the most talented construction management team and finest craftsmen and subcontractors that I’ve ever witnessed. Similar to how the future WNBA Washington Mystics will play and win as a team at this Arena, our team at Smoot/Gilbane Sports, a Joint Venture will win, as we work together toward building a facility that will not only be a cornerstone of this Congress Heights community, but will impact the lives of future generations here in Washington, DC. This has and remains a fast-track project with many long hours and cold and hot weather endured, but we look forward to seeing it across the finish line, where we will play basketball in the fall,” said Mac Naeemi, Project Executive, Smoot Gilbane Sports, A Joint Venture.
This celebratory project milestone also offered the opportunity to applaud all of the construction workers and subcontractors who have worked to keep the project on schedule.
“As a DC-native, living in Congress Heights, I am so blessed to be a part of this important project for my city. The chance to work on this project, as a Step-Up Apprentice for R&R Mechanical, has opened up many personal and professional gates of opportunity for both me and my family. Just as this Arena has impacted my life, I hope that it has the ability to impact the lives of many others, especially local DC youth,” said Perry Barmore, Step-Up Apprentice with R&R Mechanical, a Smoot/Gilbane Sports Joint Venture.
Events DC along with its project teams, Brailsford & Dunlavey as the program management team, the architect/engineer joint venture of Washington Area Design Group, comprised of ROSSETTI and Marshall Moya Design and Smoot/Gilbane Sports as the construction management team, have played a key role in the planning, design and construction of the new facility.
Completion is scheduled for September 2018 and Events DC will operate and manage the Arena.