In late May, Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said he planned to have a site for a team practice facility selected by the end of the offseason. As our Jonathan O’Connell wrote, the Wizards are now choosing between three locations – two in the District and one in Maryland.
Leonsis had previously said the team was also discussing possibilities with officials in Virginia, where his Washington Capitals have been based at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington since 2006. But Virginia is not among the final possibilities, a development Leonsis addressed in a blog post Friday.
“We also were in talks with the State of Virginia, but for unknown reasons, they decided to end discussions,” Leonsis wrote. “And there is no active work being done with the State at this time.”
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s economic team spoke with officials at Monumental Sports about locating the practice facility in Northern Virginia, according to McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy.
But in this case, the governor decided it didn’t make financial sense to pursue a practice facility deal.
“We pursue everything until we determine that the numbers don’t work for taxpayers,” Coy said.
“We go after everything, we do our due diligence, and if it doesn’t work out, the governor has no hesitation about walking away,” Coy added.
The three final possibilities are instead on the grounds of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast D.C.; on the Howard University campus; and atop parking garages in Silver Spring.
The Wizards currently practice at Verizon Center, where they also play their games and share the cramped facilities with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the Capitals and Georgetown. Leonsis envisions a state-of-the-art facility that would be built 18 to 24 months after the location is picked and potentially house a D-League team in the future.