Within three months of its opening, the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) is doing exactly what it was designed to do – provide a maximum of entertainment options for the Congress Heights and Washington DC areas.
The arena, located on approximately 3.8 acres of DC’s St. Elizabeth’s East historic campus, has already staged high profile concerts (Mary J. Blige was the first to perform in the venue) and kicked off the NBA G-League Capital City Go-Go season with games beginning on November 3.
It has also hosted the eSports Red Bull Conquest finals, and will host the Colonial Athletic Association’s men’s basketball tournaments from 2020-2022.
Owned and operated by EventsDC, the city’s convention and sports authority, it’s the only facility of its kind where three associated basketball teams call ‘home.’
The 114,000ft2 building serves as a practice/training facility for the NBA Washington Wizards, and an arena (home court) and practice/training facility for the WNBA Washington Mystics. The NBA-G League Development team associated with the Wizards, the Capital City Go-Go, also trains and plays here.
Designed by ROSSETTI with maximum flexibility, the ESA facilitates quick change over between events and excellent views for both sports and entertainment.
During concerts, black out curtains are available to screen sound and light. The equipment grid is similar to those found in larger arenas.
Additional power is provided to accommodate eSports events. Local architect Michael Marshal Group is the Associate Architect.
Serving a capacity of 4,200, the arena is designed in an open “C” configuration with the stage along the northern length of the building vs. a traditionally designed end-stage. This meets the narrow challenges of the site, and creates a very intimate setting for basketball, concerts and eSports by bringing guests closer to performers than a typical arena of this size.
The upper bowl features angled ‘wings,’ providing wider seats with tables in between for a premium seating experience. Retractable seating at ground level expands and contracts for events.
The ESA also has all the guest amenities expected in a larger arena, such as food service and concessions, comfortable seating and wide concourses that are open to the bowl for constant connection to the event.
David Richards, COO of ROSSETTI, said:
While the Entertainment and Sports Arena primarily showcases and provides a home for Washington DC basketball, this arena is designed to be incredibly flexible to meet the entertainment needs of the community.
It has many of the features of a larger venue, yet it provides an intimate setting for a great guest experience.
The training centre is designed with amenities inclusive of sports training to meet NBA standards and drive recruitment opportunities. It is focused on player training, development, recovery and rest. It features strength training equipment, hydrotherapy, two large indoor courts and a lounge to encourage respite and recovery.
The kitchen has a display cooking area which can feature the team chefs creating and training players about nutrition and meals.
Coaches and staff offices have views onto the courts, allowing them to stay connected to player practices.
Important to the architecture team was the creation of an iconic design that serves to revitalise the historic campus, while also inspiring pride within the Congress Heights community.
Images courtesy of Monumental, Brad Feinkopf