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Leonsis reaches tentative deal for new Mystics practice facility

Washington Mystics owner Ted Leonsis and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser confirmed the foundation to hold their upcoming state-of-the-art practice facility and basketball arena for the NBA Wizards and WNBA Mystics will be the former St. Elizabeth’s hospital. It will host basketball games and events, supply unique opportunities for the community, and will take over a year to create.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, St. Elizabeths Hospital sits abandoned in Southeast D.C. Other redevelopment efforts failed to build on the land. However, the Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser confirmed that foundation to hold their upcoming state-of-the-art practice facility and basketball arena for the NBA Wizards and WNBA Mystics. The intentions have come true since 2013.

As of Monday morning, district officials confirmed the location, yet still are working out minor details. The area would include a modern training facility, a home arena for events holding approximately 4,000 to 5,000 people, and a unique chance to serve as a central factor for a poor neighboring community. This includes a Microsoft Innovation Center, new shops and firms, and affordable housing.

In addition, Leonsis envisioned the facility to resemble the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, which is accessible to the Metro, and include offices, locker rooms, medical facilities, a weight room, lounge areas and theater-style classrooms.

Estimated at $50-60 million, Bowser's economic development team is likely to contribute the area at less than half of the cost to build. It could take between a year or two to create the facility, and has high hopes of hosting a D-League team in the future. Back in March, Leonsis predicted his campus to include more than just NBA events:

"priority for us is to get a Wizards practice facility," Leonsis said.  "...Then if we can find a good place and build that, that would be a good place for the D-League team to play. So that's the steps were taking."

Nonetheless, the Wizards and Mystics will continue working in the cramped practice courts of the 17-year old Verizon Center. Their future locker room will be along Alabama Ave. SE near the Congress Heights Metro station.