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Inside Verizon Center

Maybe it's all that July 4th togetherness. You loved our first installment last Thursday; here's more: 

We decided to see what goes on in the big house by day. On the arena's floor, we snapped GM Dave Touhey and Monumental Sports & Entertainment's Sheila Francis. While the Caps, Wizards, Mystics, and G'town basketball are the best known use, non-sporting events make up a big chunk of the 220 events each year. In the background: roadies creating Microsoft's big Worldwide Partner Conference, which requires ten days of set-up and rehearsal. Dave says it's bigger than Katy Perry's when she played back-to-back shows two weeks ago—hers required 26 truckloads of materials. The average event brings in 12 trucks.

Opened in '97, Verizon encompasses over a million square feet—an entire city block. It's held up remarkably well since then, though Dave says Monument tries hard to keep things up-to-date, like installing HD video screens (both inside the arena and on 7th Street, seen here). The building's also a bona fide mixed-use, transit-oriented development with six retailers (including Vida Fitness and the Greene Turtle, among others) on the premises as well as the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station underground. All of the major mobile providers lease cellphone towers on the building's roof as well.

There's much more than just the main floor at Verizon, such as the sparkling practice facility for the Wizards and Mystics in the bowels of the building. When we stopped by, Mystics player Kara Lawson was busy getting work in ahead of the team's upcoming road trip. 

The teams all have their own locker rooms in the building...

...and the Wizards and Mystics have office space. Monumental, owner of the building and team, is also headquartered here; the Caps' offices are located at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. We'll bring you inside there sometime.