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New Stadiums: Costly, Controversial

By washingtonpost.com staff
Monday, November 24, 1997

A new sports arena will soon be opening in downtown Washington. The Wizards and Capitals will leave Landover in December for their new home at the MCI Center.

Read Post coverage of the problems the new stadium has faced and plans for its future.

Also, read about the Redskins' new stadium. In September, the team moved from RFK Stadium in Washington to Jack Kent Cooke stadium in Landover.

When the new stadiums are open, what will happen to the old structures? In other cities, old stadiums have found new life with "minor-league" events.

MCI CENTER | REDSKINS STADIUM

The MCI Center

The MCI Center is the largest private-sector construction project in the District in years. It's costing sports team owner Abe Pollin $175 million, $110 million of which will go to construction costs. All told, an estimated 1,200 people will be involved in the construction. Even more worked to prepare the site, an effort that cost the District $56 million.

Pollin said the MCI Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. year-round and will include shops, restaurants, a sports museum, pedestrian terraces and a five-level arena for basketball, hockey and concerts. Its design will allow light to spill out its windows at night like a beacon in downtown Washington.

  • An Arena Bonanza
    With about a week to go until the opening of the MCI Center, retailers and restaurateurs are gearing up for the surge of business they hope the center will bring. Monday, Nov. 24, 1997.

  • MCI Center, Metro Station Stage Debut for Two
    After four years and $200 million, thousands of fans had the opportunity to check out every detail of the new MCI Center, and most people were pleased with what they saw. The Capitals and Wizards are scheduled to move into the 20,600-seat arena in early December. Monday, Nov. 17, 1997.

  • D.C. Hopes Arena Is Just A Warm-Up
    The opening of the MCI Center offers the rare opportunity to transform downtown Washington into a bustling regional entertainment center. But eight weeks before the center's scheduled opening, there is still no single, comprehensive plan for revitalizing downtown, an essential first step for a successful turnaround. Monday, Oct. 13, 1997.

  • Arena to Open Doors in December
    Despite hopes that the MCI Center would be ready in October, in time for the beginning of the hockey and basketball seasons, the building won't open for business until Dec. 2. That date is the 24th anniversary of the opening of the teams' current home, the US Airways Arena, and the birthday of owner Abe Pollin. Wednesday, July 23, 1997.

  • MCI Center Promises More Construction Jobs for D.C. Residents
    While many construction jobs have been created by the MCI Center, city residents are still behind in reaping the benefits. Despite the requirement that 51 percent of new construction jobs created by the center would go to D.C. residents, only 38 percent, or 272 jobs, were actually held by Washingtonians by the end of May. Activists are working with the mayor and arena builders to turn that statistic around. Friday, June 27, 1997.

  • Building an Arena Inch by Measured Inch
    The 20,000 seat MCI arena in downtown Washington will be constructed by more than 1,200 people. Jody Biggs, an energetic 22-year-old, is the youngest of six field engineers working on the project. Tuesday, June 18, 1996.

  • At Arena, Business Will Be A Star Player
    Luxury suites for top executives or anyone who can afford the expensive seats will be available for basketball and hockey games at the new MCI Center. Monday, Oct. 30, 1995.

  • Pollin Shows Off Plan for Arena That He Insists Will Be Built
    Sports team owner Abe Pollin showed off the final design for a $175 million regional entertainment center near Chinatown that he said would help bring people back to a dying downtown. Thursday, Sept. 28, 1995.

  • Pollin Plans High-Tech D.C. Sports Facility
    The MCI arena will be a showcase for cutting-edge technology that allows fans to participate in events in ways that range from selecting their own instant replays to completing instant polls from their seats. Thursday, June 8, 1995.

  • MCI Name to Go on New Facility
    Sports team owner Abe Pollin's new downtown arena will be named after MCI Communications Corp., the largest company based in the District. Saturday, June 3, 1995.


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