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MMD is Associate Architect, in collaboration with Detroit-based ROSSETTI, for the District’s new Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA). A historically significant site for architectural innovation and economic vitality for communities east of the Anacostia River, the St. Elizabeth’s East Campus is part of a group of neighborhoods that are particularly meaningful to the District of Columbia. The plan for St. Elizabeth’s East is to create a wealth of new employment and investment opportunities east of the river and to become a hub for new housing, workforce development, high tech innovation, and educational and cultural activity. The intent is to contribute to a vibrant and sustainable neighborhood, with space for office, retail, education and entertainment.
The ESA is an innovative venue, that is a state-of-the-art, new hybrid of NBA training facility coupled with a performance hall. The 4,200 seat arena serves as the home court for the Washington Mystics and practice facility for the Washington Wizards. This facility has already proven to provide a much-needed boost to on-going redevelopment in Ward 8, spur greater opportunities for residents, and help create more “pathways to the middle class” as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s series of initiatives to create economic opportunity for District communities.
The main exterior cladding material of large-scale brick toned metal panels communicates a strong connection to the existing St. Elizabeths historic red brick structures in a unique and visually compelling way. The design also brings many community-friendly elements; the cafe space, for example, is accessible to the public realm — from both sidewalk and concourse axis points — so that the community may enjoy retail options even when the Arena is not hosting events.
(This project was initiated under Marshall Moya, but was completed by Michael Marshall Design.)
Through selection of beautiful and sustainable materials, the physicality of the building is compatible with the existing St. Elizabeths Campus while also identifying the Arena as a new urban destination and important community amenity. The project has won multiple awards including a "Best Real Estate Deal of 2018" and "Game Changer of the Year" by Washington Business Journal, and DCBIA's 2019 Community Impact Award.