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DC LAND AGENCY GIVES ARENA GO-AHEAD DESPITE LACK OF INFO
Published June 16, 1995
The DC Redevelopment Land Agency "grudgingly" gave preliminary approval to a land deal necessary for the city to build a new sports arena, according to Lorraine Woellert in the WASHINGTON TIMES. The RLA holds title to the land where Bullets/Caps Owner Abe Pollin wants to build a new 20,000-seat arena, and the agency is unhappy with the agreement between the city and Pollin to develop the project. RLA Board Chair Michelle Bernard: "It's verbal vomit as far as I'm concerned." RLA's preliminary approval calls for the document to be rewritten. The board meets June 22 to consider final approvement (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/16). An editorial in today's WASHINGTON POST praises the arena efforts: "Dangers remain until all the agencies, commissions and other stops along the way have been cleared. We say this not as a call for suspending standards of responsibility in evaluating a major financial proposal but as a continuing warning for the city not to blow this great and probably last significant opportunity for serious downtown economic revival" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16). AREN'T THEY SUPPOSED TO BE BROKE? The DC government has spent more than $800,000 on consulting and legal fees related to the arena. From a mayor's office report detailing expenses from July '94-May '95: More than $80,000 to environmental lawyers Beveridge & Diamond; almost $128,00 to Coopers & Lybrand for pre- development financial analysis; over $60,000 to Arnold & Porter, which advised on lease, land-use, and construction issues; and $125,000 to Mayor Marion Barry's special counsel on the project, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/15).