SBD/8/Facilities Venues


     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).
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