There has been a lot of talk about Monumental Sports possibly building a new basketball practice facility in Shaw, how it could impact residents there and even whether the Mystics could move there. But despite all the speculation, all of the conversations have been preliminary. We aren't as close to seeing this facility than some might think.
In an interview with Washington Post writer Jonathan O'Connell, an anonymous source close to the Wizards noted that owner Ted Leonsis is considering the Shaw site as well as locations in Crystal City and Ballston in Virginia. This comes on the heels of a Washington City Paper report suggesting the previous leak about the Shaw facility was premature.
There are definitely reasons why the Arlington-based sites in Crystal City and Ballston could be good locations for a practice facility. The Washington Capitals already practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, which is adjacent to Ballston Common. Forest City Washington, which owns the Iceplex, has been in discussions about building a basketball practice facility there as well, but they're also not in the complex's long term plan.
Leonsis reportedly wants to build a facility like the Chicago Bulls' Advocate Center, which is located next to the United Center. The Advocate Center opened this past September and features multiple practice courts, therapy rooms and on-site chefs to prepare players' meals. Leonsis also linked to it three times during a blog entry he posted Wednesday.
One of the more contentious parts of building any sports facility is whether the government would pay for it. According to Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, the Chicago government didn't provide much financing help for the $25 million facility. The cost for Monumental Sports' facility, if in D.C. would be estimated at $40 to $50 million, according to the Washington Post. That's more than the $30 to $40 million estimate that NBC4's Mark Segraves reported last Friday.
Clearly, we're still in exploratory stages. We know Leonsis wants the Wizards to have a practice facility, but it's far too early to say when and where it will ultimately be.