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On an unusually mild morning for January, hundreds of members of the Congress Heights community joined DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, Monumental Sports CEO Ted Leonsis, EventsDC President and CEO Greg O’Dell and others to celebrate the “topping out” of the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Ward 8. Guests began arriving at 10:30 am to sign the beam that would soon be placed at the top of the structure, then began slowly making their way down into the future NBA training facility for the Washington Wizards and home court for the Washington Mystics for celebratory speeches and lunch.
Mayor Bowser began her talk by thanking many of the attendees who are working tirelessly on the project, from architects and designers to construction workers and engineers. “Today who we see in front of us are the people who are bringing this project alive,” she said. Her vision for this part of the city has been very clear. With an estimated 380,000 attendees projected to come to this venue every year for games, special events and community gatherings, “Thousands of people will use the metro to come to Congress Heights to discover every corner of Washington, DC,” she said. It is estimated that this project, which will be followed by residential and retail amenities, will contribute to a $90 million economic impact over 20 years, as part of the Mayor’s work to ensure “Pathways to the Middle Class” for every District resident.
One out of every four workers on the project is from Ward 7 or Ward 8. Added Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors for EventsD DC, “65% of the money spent on this project is going to small local businesses. The community has been a great partner.” Trayon White, DC Councilmember for Ward 8, spoke about his community’s excitement saying, “Today marks a big day in Ward 8.”
Said architect Michael Marshall, who is part of the design team on the venue, “We are proud to partner with ROSSETTI and Events DC on this project for Congress Heights, and to be contributing to the renaissance in this part of the District. As a native Washingtonian who grew up in Southeast, I am particularly passionate about work that contributes to the urban fabric of our city in a meaningful way for our residents and also for visitors.”
Learn more about the project here.