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Verizon Center (MCI Center), Washington, USA

August 22nd, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Verizon Center is a sports and entertainment arena in Washington, D.C., named after telecommunications sponsor Verizon Communications. The name of the arena was previously MCI Center, but when MCI was acquired by Verizon, the name was changed to "Verizon Center" effective March 5, 2006 . The arena has been nicknamed the "Phone Booth" because of its association with telecommunications companies.

The arena opened on December 2, 1997 in downtown Washington's Chinatown. The building replaced the US Air Arena, which was located on the Capital Beltway in Landover, Maryland. Some complained that the building's construction, by closing off a block of G St, corrupted the historic L'Enfant layout of the Washington city streets. Others were concerned it would lead to the displacement of Chinese businesses in Chinatown. While largely considered a commercial success, the Verizon Center was the catalyst that led to gentrification of Washington's Chinatown, with rent increases after construction of the Arena forcing many small Chinese businesses to close. On the other hand, the Arena is not only a popular venue for sports and concerts, but helped to turned "Gallery Place/Chinatown" neighborhood into one of the prime sites for commercial development in Washington. Virtually all Chinese residents in the D.C. area already live in the suburbs, and displacement that occurred over the years has been mostly commercial rather than residential.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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