Events DC

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Events DC is a quasi-public company in Washington, D.C. that owns and manages the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, RFK Stadium, and Nationals Park among other DC venues. Led by Greg O'Dell, the organization receives millions in taxpayer funding and is overseen by an independent board.

History[edit]

The Washington Sports and Convention Authority (WSCA) was formed on October 1, 2009 following the merger of the Washington Convention Center Authority (WCCA) and the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC).[1][2] The plan was announced by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty as a cost saving measure in his 2010 budget proposal.[1][3] In 2011, the WSCA was renamed Events DC to align with the other brands of the District and its tourism arm, Destination DC.[3]

Leadership[edit]

Greg O'Dell has served as its president and CEO since its founding and earns $295,000 per year.[4] The board is chaired by Max Brown, a businessman and lobbyist for Zipcar, CSX Corporation and Corizon Health who previously served as legal counsel and deputy chief of staff to Anthony Williams.[4][5]

Operations[edit]

Events DC receives more than $100 million in taxpayer money but has an independent board appointed by the Mayor.[4] In addition to overseeing the convention center, Nationals Park, RFK, the Armory and the armory, it has provided funding to various construction and development projects in the District. It provided more than $200 million in public money into construction of the Marriott Marquis convention center hotel and acquired the rights to the Carnegie Library.[4]

Convention center and hotel[edit]

As part of the $520 million construction of the Marriott Marquis which opened in 2014, Events DC expected an increase in citywide conventions.[6] DC hosted 22 conventions in 2011 but only 15 in 2015 and 2016.[4] In October 2015, the DC auditor called on Events DC to increase profitability of the Convention Center after it fell below the average revenues and higher expenses per square foot of 13 other large convention centers studied.[7]

Events DC was responsible for training staff to work at the Marriot Marquis, which had a requirement of hiring district residents for 51 percent of the hotel’s staff as a condition of its public financing.[8] Events DC trained and referred 719 District residents to Marriott, while 178 were hired by the hotel, which did not meet the local staffing requirement.[8]

In June 2016, former convention center employees filed suit against Events DC for unpaid wages. They allegedly worked overtime on various tasks but were denied comp time. [9]

Nationals Park[edit]

Nationals Park, which opened in 2008, is managed by Events DC and built almost entirely with taxpayer funding.[10] In 2016, O'Dell announced that $160 million was needed for upgrades and repairs to the facility.[10]

Carnegie library[edit]

In 2014, Events DC twice sought to move the International Spy Museum into the library, but failed to win historic preservation approval.[11] In December 2016, Events DC announced an agreement with Apple to turn the library into a new store for the company, designed by Foster and Partners.[12]

Wizards practice facility[edit]

In 2016, it was announced that Events DC would play a prominent role in the $55 million construction of a practice facility for the Washington Wizards on the site of St. Elizabeths Hospital.[4] Members of the DC Council sought to introduce legislation capping public expenditure in the case of cost overruns.[13] In July 28, O'Dell requested an additional $10 million in funding while decreasing the number of seats in the facility.[14] He said earlier estimates were premature.[14]

Community services[edit]

In December 2009, Events DC, then known as WCSA, was criticized for quoting a usage fee of $77,000 to a nonprofit organization, Remote Area Medical, who wished to use the D.C. Armory to host free health clinics.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lemke, Tim (June 5, 2009). "DCSEC merger approved.". Washington Times. 
  2. ^ Lowe, Michael C. (March 1, 2013). "Citywides Decline in Washington, D.C.". Meetings & Conventions. 
  3. ^ a b "FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. September 30, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f O'Connell, Jonathan (September 18, 2015). "Meet the man at the center of D.C.'s booming sports-industrial complex". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ "Prominent lobbyist nominated by Bowser to chair Events D.C.". Washington Business Journal. April 23, 2015. 
  6. ^ Bhattarai, Abha (September 9, 2013). "With upcoming arrival of Marriott Marquis, D.C. sees 'definite uptick' in conferences". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Cooper, Rebecca (October 23, 2015). "Auditor calls on Events D.C. to increase convention center profitability". Washington Business Journal. 
  8. ^ a b Bhattarai, Abha (March 20, 2015). "Nearly a year in, Marriott Marquis says job training program has worked". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ GIAMBRONE, Andrew (June 9, 2016). "Former Employees Sue Events DC For Allegedly Failing To Pay Them Overtime". The Washington City Paper. 
  10. ^ a b McKenna, Dave (March 3, 2016). "Washington, D.C. Makes Sure No Billionaire Sports Team Owner Is Left Behind". Deadspin. Retrieved March 24, 2016. 
  11. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan (October 7, 2014). "Deal to move Spy Museum to Carnegie Building falls apart". The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Karen Goff (December 6, 2016). "Exclusive: Apple agrees to open flagship store at Carnegie Library". Washington Business Journal. 
  13. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan (March 1, 2016). "D.C. Council member proposes spending cap for Wizards facility". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ a b O'Connell, Jonathan (July 28, 2016). "Cost of Wizards practice facility rises $10 million before construction can even begin". Washington Post. 
  15. ^ Cauvin, Henri (December 12, 2009). "Group planning free health clinics objects to D.C.'s $77,000 fee". Meetings & Conventions. 

External links[edit]