Monumental Sports founder and CEO Ted Leonsis has accepted an offer from Washington, D.C., officials to invest $500 million to help renovate and modernize the Capital One Arena, abandoning a controversial proposal to develop a $2-billion mixed use complex in Northern Virginia.

The city will also provide an additional $15 million to improve an alley connecting the 27-year-old arena with the adjacent Gallery Place multiuse building for Monumental’s operations and public-facing activities, according to a company statement. In return, Leonsis committed to keeping the city’s professional basketball and hockey teams at the venue through at least 2050.

The agreement, which would be funded through general obligation bonds, must still be approved by the D.C. City Council.

Leonsis has spent more than $200 million in arena improvements since purchasing the arena along with the sports teams in 2010. Apparently unhappy with the city’s response to his request for $600 million in public funding to support major renovations, and expressing concerns about the neighborhood’s safety, he looked across the Potomac River to northern Virginia and the rapidly redeveloping areas adjacent to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

That led to a proposal announced in December 2023 with Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) to develop a $2-billion sports and entertainment complex in Alexandria’s Potomac Yards area, with the state contributing $1.5 billion in funding.

Despite the strong backing of Youngkin and some local officials, the proposal met strong resistance from both area residents concerned about traffic and other disruptions, as well as in the state legislature. Efforts to reach a compromise with state Senate Finance and Appropriations chair Louise Lucas (D), a staunch opponent of the proposal, were unsuccessful, leading to the proposed bonding authority being dropped from the state’s two-year budget early in March.

Although Youngkin still had options to revive the public funding mechanism, Leonsis opted to resolve his differences with the D.C. officials, leading to the agreement that was announced March 27. Earlier in the day, Alexandria officials announced they had ended negotiations with Leonsis on the Potomac Yards proposal.

In a statement, Leonsis admitted that while the process had been difficult, his love of D.C. had never wavered. “I look at outcomes, not process, and we got to the right outcome,” he said.

Arena upgrades to be funded by D.C.'s $515-million contribution include improved sightlines, hospitality options and digital infrastructure, as well as modernized spaces for fans and players. Plans call for nearly 200,000 sq ft of newly programmed space throughout the arena and in the Gallery Place Building. A new basketball practice facility and security, logistics, and transportation-related improvements at the arena are also included.

No schedule for design or construction has been announced.