Statement from Councilmember Silverman on $10 Million Cost Increase for Wizards Practice Facility
At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman today released the following statement in response to a letter on July 26 from Events DC announcing an increase of $10 million to the total cost of the Wizards practice facility, raising the project budget to $65 million:
"I am extremely disappointed to learn that the cost of the Wizards practice facility has risen to $65 million, requiring an additional $10 million in District taxpayer dollars before construction has even begun. Even more concerning to me is that we will be spending more money for fewer seats, which means fewer fans, fewer jobs, and less benefit for Ward 8. Ward 8 has waited too long for economic investment, and we want to make sure every dollar we spend brings the highest return.
I want this investment to pay off for Ward 8. Earlier this year, I visited many Ward 8 community and advisory neighborhood commission meetings to hear from residents about the facility. I understand how important this project is to them, and I know residents expect—and deserve—the best project possible.
Earlier this spring, I was concerned that there was very little transparency about the costs of the project and hoped that the lack of information would challenge the Council to hold Events DC accountable. That’s why I introduced legislation to make the District’s contribution clear and have Events DC make clear the economic benefits and jobs promised to Ward 8. I’m concerned that—despite promises that this project would be on time and on budget—this cost overrun has come even before we have broken ground. I will continue to push Events DC and the District government to be accountable to residents and ensure that the people of Ward 8 see the best investment possible."