Gigantic New Sports Complex Proposed for D.C. Area

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July 3, 2013 – A start-up sports and entertainment company has proposed building a Washington, D.C.-area athletics complex that would occupy 600,000 square feet — the size of three Wal-Mart supercentres. The company’s founders, Kendrick F. Ashton, Jr. and Craig A. Dixon, say the facility, to be called the St. James Sports and Entertainment Complex, would be the largest in the region.
Ashton and Dixon grew up locally and say that, as kids, they always dreamed of having accesses to such a complex. According to their business proposal, the complex would cater to a wide range of sports, and would include six indoor tennis courts, four batting cages, two NHL-size hockey rinks, and an 80,000-square-foot multipurpose field house.
“We grew up incredibly passionate about participating in sports and getting better and pursuing certain passions,” Ashton said. “This is the kind of facility we would have liked to have had as young children growing up.”
Eric Willin, COO of EZFacility, a sports facility software management company, noted a recent trend toward the creation of gigantic complexes that offer a variety of athletic activities, along with opportunities for year-round competition and training. “The construction of such a facility in the D.C. area would have major significance,” he said. “Local athletes, students, and sports enthusiasts would have unprecedented opportunities for participation in sporting events, and the complex would likely draw sports tourists and others from all over. We’ll be interested to see how this project progresses.”
The new complex would be built on the Hensley Park playing fields, between the Beltway and Eisenhower Avenue, in Alexandria, Virginia. Ashton and Dixon pitched the project as an economic development engine for the area, which lies near where the National Science Foundation is planning to relocate in 2017. They are requesting a 40-year ground lease from the city of Alexandria, but it is not yet clear what the project would cost them or taxpayers.