BET PRESIDENT JOHNSON UNVEILS PLANS FOR DC ARENA
In a 27-page proposal, BET President Robert Johnson
submitted his plan for a new $200M, 23,000-seat multi-use arena
in downtown Washington that "would cost taxpayers nothing and is
not dependent on attracting a professional sports team." Johnson
said the facility would not rely on a deal with Capitals/Bullets
owner Abe Pollin bringing his teams into the city, saying if he
can't get Pollin to agree to a deal, he believes "there will be
some teams available," and "insisted the Baltimore-Washington
area could support two pro basketball teams." He said his plan
should be taken seriously because it doesn't require a sales tax
and city- floated bonds, a reference to "funding scenarios" being
considered in talks between Pollin and the National Capital
Development Corp. But some local leaders criticized the idea,
and called Pollin's agreement with the NCDC as the better
alternative. Tuck Nason, Chair of the Greater Washington Board
of Trade: "The only winning deal for the city is a deal that
includes the teams" (Matt Neufeld, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/14).
Jerry Sachs, president of Centre Group, which handles Pollin's
arena holdings, said that Pollin had not seen the proposal.
Sachs: "Our position continues that we have an agreement with
NCDC" (Brown & Kovaleski, WASHINGTON POST, 10/14).