A computerized building amid trees and a field.

Image Courtesy of Virginia Tech News

By Zachary Lichter

The Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics were about to embark on a new home: Alexandria, Virginia. That plan is now canceled.

Virginia’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, and owner of the Wizards and Capitals, Ted Leonsis, hoped to bring both teams to Virginia. It would be built next to the new Amazon headquarters in Alexandria’s Potomac Yards

The stadium would be built next to the new Potomac Yards Metro station and would include a performing arts venue, underground parking, and a practice facility for the Wizards. The new stadium was projected to be finished by 2028.

If the stadium were built, it would seat 20,000 people. It would have additional entrances to the new Metro station and a pedestrian bridge connecting to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Moving the Wizards and Capitals to Virginia sounds exciting, but it also creates a problem for Alexandria. Having a stadium built in Alexandria leads to the Virginia Department of Transportation cutting the lanes on U.S. Route 1 from six to four lanes (two on each side) and requiring/creating extra traffic lights and sidewalks. 

Commuters would see a 20-30 minute increase in traffic, which would make their commutes longer. The 20-30 minute increase in traffic would double during the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) seasons.

In order for the stadium to be built, Youngkin and Leonsis proposed a $2.2 billion plan to the Virginia Senate. On March 7 of this year, the Virginia lawmakers voted against building a stadium in Alexandria at their budget meeting in Richmond. 

If the stadium was built in Alexandria, it would create $1.5 billion in public debt. Youngkin had opportunities to fix his plan by introducing a budget amendment or sending the Virginia Senate a stand-alone bill that both parties would have to agree on, but he decided against it.

According to the Washington Post, Youngkin reacted to the proposal’s rejection by calling it a “colossal mistake.” He then called Virginia Senator L. Louise Lucas, who rejected the proposal as a “roadblock.” Lucas admitted in a news conference that she was a roadblock, but she also said that a better deal was for Leonsis to pay for the stadium himself.

Since the proposal of a stadium in December 2023, the idea of moving the Wizards, Mystics, and Capitals angered Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser, leading her and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson to offer $500 million to upgrade Capital One Arena. 

Leonsis rejected the offer because he already had plans to move both teams to Alexandria. Bowser and Mendelson decided to keep their offer available if Leonsis changed his mind.

Professional sports will remain in the district for the foreseeable future. However, since the Virginia Senate scrapped Youngkin and Leonsis’ proposal, no new stadium will be built in Alexandria.

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