SBD/2/Facilities Venues

DC ARENA DEAL TURNS SPICY AS POLLIN PONDERS PULL-OUT

     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).
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