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House of Delegates unveils Virginia Stadium Authority bill with 15 members, but only three from Alexandria

Rendering of concert venue at Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday printed an updated version of the bill establishing the Virginia Stadium Authority, which would own and finance construction of the $2 billion Potomac Yard arena and entertainment district.

While the Senate version of the bill is still in the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, the House version stipulates that a 15-member Virginia Stadium Authority board would be made up of:

  • Five members appointed by the governor
  • Two non-legislative members appointed by the House speaker
  • Three members from the Senate Rules Committee
  • Three members appointed by the Alexandria City Council
  • One member representing Arlington
  • One member representing Monumental Sports, the owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals

Alexandria City Council members were unanimously unhappy with the previous House version of the bill, which called for a nine-member Authority board, with six members appointed by the governor and three from Alexandria. The Council wants more city representation.

“We will continue to work through the legislative process to get legislation that works for Alexandria,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “We have a ways to go before this goes to the governor’s desk.”

Additionally, the House bill also creates oversight of the Virginia Stadium Authority with a 14-member “The Sports and Entertainment Authority Oversight Commission.” The commission members include the Virginia House speaker, the president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate and 12 delegates on the Major Employment and Investment (MEI) Project Approval Commission.

City Council Member Kirk McPike said that on one hand, the governor isn’t appointing a majority of the board anymore, which he said is a “step in the right direction.”

“But I still want to see more representation for the City,” McPike said. “Whatever bills make it to the other chamber at crossover (when they are considered by the other legislative body) will change significantly in the second half of the session, and the City will continue to work to ensure we have as strong a voice as possible on the potential stadium authority board.”

Alexandria Vice Mayor Amy Jackson agreed with her colleagues, and also agreed with Virginia President Pro tempore Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-18), who tweeted on Feb. 10 that the bill is not on the Senate Finance and Appropriations docket because it is “not ready for prime time.”

“I agree with Wilson and McPike,” Jackson said. “I also agree with Senator Lucas, who said ‘We have a ways to go.'”

City Council Member Canek Aguirre doesn’t like the proposed makeup of the stadium authority.

“Not a fan of the new makeup, but will continue to work with the General Assembly to get something that works for Alexandria,” Aguirre said.

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