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POLLIN'S ARENA PLANS RECEIVE BOOST FROM CITY AGENCY
Published December 8, 1994
The proposal for a state-of-the-art arena in downtown Washington won approval yesterday from a "key" city agency. The Redevelopment Land Agency voted 3-1 to recommend that the city "lease a prime parcel of land" to the National Capital Development Corp (NCDC). The NCDC plans to build a $200M facility to be home to Abe Pollin's Bullets and Capitals. The RLA said a competing proposal by BET President Robert Johnson "might be better for the city and chided Pollin for not offering the District more." Johnson has offered to pay for the facility himself in exchange for an opportunity to purchase a share of the teams from Pollin, but Pollin has refused to negotiate with Johnson. While Johnson has the money, he "has no teams to occupy the arena," and that was the driving force behind the RLA's decision. The proposal now must go to the D.C. Council, and eventually "win backing on Capitol Hill." Johnson said he will pursue "legal options," and plans to "argue to the new Republican Congress" that the city should not support using public funds "when private sector entrepreneurs are ready to assume the risk" (Howard Schneider, WASHINGTON POST, 12/8).