Relocation of Capital One Arena Will Inconvenience Fans

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting, January 20, 2024.

A lot of questions have been raised about the proposed relocation of the Capital One Arena from DC to Potomac Yard. Economists are skeptical of the promised $12 billion in economic benefits not only because the venture will move an existing DC based sports operation across the river, but also because similar ventures have not panned out elsewhere. For example, economist John Charles Bradbury, reported in Bloomberg News that Truist Park, where the Atlanta Braves relocated in 2017, loses $15 million a year.

Another issue is the fact that the Potomac Yard Metrorail station is flood prone. Axios reports that Potomac Yard will be designated a 10 year floodplain by 2050. With much of Old Town Alexandria already under water during rain events, Alexandria should reconsider existing plans for Potomac Yard not double down on further development.

Still another issue is transportation into and out of Alexandria, where major arteries are already congested. The newly opened Potomac Yard Metrorail station on the far side of the CSX railroad track was not designed to handle large crowds.

By contrast, DC Capital One Arena is located within blocks of 6 Metrorail lines, 2 of which serve predominantly Black neighborhoods in Anacostia and Northeast DC. Relocating the arena to Potomac Yard, will require most Blacks, who comprise 30 percent of the Wizards fan base, to forfeit their easy commute for a connection at L’Enfant Plaza and a trek across the river. While I’m not a fan of DEI initiatives designed to discriminate against whites, I oppose making life harder for POC. The relocation of the Capital One Arena is destined to do just that.