DC’s Chinatown threatened by relocation of Washington sports teams

DC’s Chinatown threatened by relocation of Washington sports teamsDC’s Chinatown threatened by relocation of Washington sports teams
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Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown faces a potential upheaval as local sports teams the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards consider relocating to Northern Virginia, a move that could reshape the Chinese American community.
The Virginia deal: The tentative agreement for the moves between team owner Ted Leonsis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, estimated at $2 billion, awaits approval from the Virginia General Assembly and the city of Alexandria. Leonsis suggested relocating the Washington Mystics from the Entertainment and Sports Arena to the larger Capital One Arena if the other two teams depart. However, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser rejected this proposal, stating that the shorter schedule of the WNBA team would result in the Capital One Arena being underutilized too frequently.
Chinatown’s concerns: Already hit by a decline in downtown office workers and a surge in violent crime amid post-pandemic challenges, Chinatown and Congress Heights residents and business owners see the teams’ relocation as a potential blow that could worsen its struggles. Many fear the ripple effects of the teams leaving and its potential negative impact on economic revitalization.
Mayor’s proposal: Bowser is pursuing a dual strategy: a task force for Chinatown’s reimagining without Capital One and a $500 million offer to renovate the arena, signaling a readiness to pick up the pieces if the Virginia deal falters. 
The Gallery Place/Chinatown Task Force aims to gather input from businesses and community members to create a new vision of the potential future uses of the area. To address the increasing crime in the Chinatown area, Bowser also introduced the “Safe Commercial Corridor Hub,” which provides residents with direct access to law enforcement and other agencies.
Mixed hopes and fears: Community activists in Congress Heights envision Capital One arena as a catalyst for positive change, fostering Black-owned businesses. However, concerns linger within the Chinatown community about potential business closures, vacant spaces and a decrease in tourism in the teams’ absence. Some business owners have also called for potential funds from the city’s offer to Leonsis to be redirected towards neighborhood safety improvements instead. 
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