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DC ARENA DEAL TURNS SPICY AS POLLIN PONDERS PULL-OUT
Published December 2, 1994
The discussions for a new arena in downtown Washington took on a new light as Bullets/Caps Owner Abe Pollin threatened to pull out of any deal that would compromise his future ownership of the teams. Black Entertainment Television President Robert Johnson yesterday told the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) -- the group that will decide who will "get the rights to develop valuable city owned property" -- that he would pledge $12M to help develop minority-owned businesses in the neighborhood of the arena, pay at least $500,000 annually rent for land, and set aside $18M to acquire extra property required for the building. The proposal "drew favorable comments" from RLA members, but it left representatives of Pollin "fuming over potential deal busting delays." Pollin spokesperson Wes Unseld "cautioned" the RLA not to be "swayed by Johnson's offer." Pollin's agreement "with the National Capital Development Corp. (NCDC) calls for DC Council approval of a new arena by year's end, and if that "timetable slips, Unseld said Pollin will begin talking again" with officials in MD and VA about other sites. Johnson's deal is contingent upon Pollin moving his teams into the city (Howard Schneider, WASHINGTON POST, 12/2).