Ted Leonsis, former AOL executive and majority owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics basketball teams, said recently that he would like to build a new practice facility for the teams near to the arena where they play, the Verizon Center.

Shortly thereafter Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said he would “love” to have such a facility in the District, particularly if it were sometimes open to the community.

Leonsis hasn’t said a lot about what type of complex he envisions, other than that he would like it to be near the Verizon Center, accessible to public transit and potentially similar to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston, where the Washington Capitals (another Leonsis team) practice.

But finding space for such a facility, in an ever more expensive downtown, may not be so easy.

In 1997, the year the Verizon Center opened (as the MCI Center), there were around 100 surface parking lots available for development. Today there are less than 15, and they are mostly accounted for as places to build.

Rich Bradley, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement District, said he doesn’t see a major basketball complex getting built downtown because of how valuable real estate has become for offices, housing or retail.

“The values downtown are just too big,” Bradley said.