‘We fight for ourselves’: Why Alexandria leaders say DC doesn’t need Monumental Sports

Leaders in Alexandria, Virginia, held a town hall Saturday to answer community questions about the potential move of the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards to Northern Virginia.

One big concern amid residents was how the move could negatively impact D.C.

“I don’t think D.C.’s best days are behind it,” Council member Kirk McPike said. “Just like I know Alexandria’s best days are ahead of it.”

If the plan to build a new arena is approved, it would be more than just a space for the NHL and NBA teams. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said it would include a new world headquarters for Monumental Sports, as well as a state-of-the-art media studio for the network, a Wizards practice facility, a performing arts venue and an expanded esports facility.

“When you bring this arena here, you’re bringing the teams here, you’re bringing small businesses here, you’re bringing more residents here that want to be close to that entertainment district, that want to be close to the historic Alexandria neighborhoods,” Vice Mayor Amy Jackson said. “This is an economic win on so many levels.”

One resident asked if Alexandria has a moral duty to not leave a “big hole” in D.C. by accepting the teams.

“[D.C.] gets millions more dollars in tourism than we do,” Council member John Chapman said. “Do they say ‘Hey, come over to Alexandria after you’ve stopped over in D. C.?’ No, they don’t. We fight for ourselves.”

Jackson referenced Alexandria’s waterfront development.

“We were supposed to be the first to completely develop our waterfront,” Jackson said. “Instead, we watched as National Harbor was developed first. Then we saw The Wharf being developed in D.C. while we are still sitting here waiting for ours to be completely developed. So, is this another opportunity we’ll miss? Or just grab it by the horns and say, ‘Let’s go.’”

Chapman said while the two cities can work together on other projects, they’re in competition on this.

“If we allow people to take our lunch money, they will take it. If we allow them to take our good businesses, they will take it,” Chapman said. “But we have to roll up our sleeves and say, ‘This is Alexandria.’ We have to be fighting for ourselves and D.C. is going to do the same exact thing.”

No plans are set in stone yet. Alexandria’s City Council will hold a third listening session this week to hear resident input on how a new arena would affect transportation and traffic management.

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Grace Newton

Grace Newton is an Associate Producer at WTOP. She also works as an associate producer for NPR Newscast. Grace was born and raised in North Carolina but has lived in D.C. since 2018. Grace graduated from American University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in art history in 2022.

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