Howard University officials are working on creating a deal with private developers and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis to build a publicly financed Wizards practice facility on the HBCU’s campus.
Under the deal, which is still in the early phases of discussion, Howard would provide two acres of land to the NBA team to build a facility that will be managed by Leonsis’ company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The D.C. government would be asked to help pay for the construction of the facility, which is estimated to cost between $25 million and $35 million.
The new facility is a part of Howard University’s president Wayne A.I. Frederick’s plan to help put the school in better financial footing. He said he’s interested in using the school’s real estate to help revitalize Georgia Avenue, improve school revenue and add amenities that will benefit the students and surrounding communities.
“We’ve been talking to lots of people about differentÂ types of things,â€ The Washington Post reports Frederick saying. “One of my goals at the universityÂ is to diversify our revenue streams and looking at real estate assets is a part of that.”
Frederick, who is a medical doctor, also wants to create a health and wellness center at the school, as well as workout facilities and space for nutrition classes.
If the deal is approved, Leonsis says the decision will also be a great benefit to the Wizards and believes a practice facility is critical to helping the team attract the best free agents.
“At Verizon Center we currently have only one practice court, no space for seating (we can’t adequately open it up to public) and a shared weight room, and the court was marginal at best when it was constructed 17 years ago,â€ Leonsis wrote in a November 2014 blog post for Ted’s Take. “We need a fully developed training and conditioning space that meets the needs to today’s athletes.”