1997 - Verizon Center Opens
The Verizon Center, formerly known as the MCI Center, is a sports and entertainment arena in Washington, D.C. The Verizon Center is owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and is situated on top of land leased from the District of Columbia. The Verizon Center was built in the mid-1990s solely with private financing and was originally owned by Abe Pollin from 1997 to June 2010. On June 10, 2010, following Pollin’s death in November 2009, the Pollin family sold Verizon Center, along with the Washington Wizards and the Washington/Baltimore area Ticketmaster franchise to Ted Leonsis, who already owned the arena’s other tenant, the Washington Capitals professional hockey team. Leonsis subsequently formed a new management company called Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The Verizon Center is largely considered to be a commercial success and is regarded as one of the driving catalysts of the revitalization (and gentrification) of Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood.