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BET PRESIDENT JOHNSON UNVEILS PLANS FOR DC ARENA
Published October 14, 1994
In a 27-page proposal, BET President Robert Johnson submitted his plan for a new $200M, 23,000-seat multi-use arena in downtown Washington that "would cost taxpayers nothing and is not dependent on attracting a professional sports team." Johnson said the facility would not rely on a deal with Capitals/Bullets owner Abe Pollin bringing his teams into the city, saying if he can't get Pollin to agree to a deal, he believes "there will be some teams available," and "insisted the Baltimore-Washington area could support two pro basketball teams." He said his plan should be taken seriously because it doesn't require a sales tax and city- floated bonds, a reference to "funding scenarios" being considered in talks between Pollin and the National Capital Development Corp. But some local leaders criticized the idea, and called Pollin's agreement with the NCDC as the better alternative. Tuck Nason, Chair of the Greater Washington Board of Trade: "The only winning deal for the city is a deal that includes the teams" (Matt Neufeld, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/14). Jerry Sachs, president of Centre Group, which handles Pollin's arena holdings, said that Pollin had not seen the proposal. Sachs: "Our position continues that we have an agreement with NCDC" (Brown & Kovaleski, WASHINGTON POST, 10/14).