Prince William's $140M Sports Complex Facing an Uncertain Future

Board members dissuaded by cost of complex


The proposal for an over $100 million indoor athletics facility in Prince William County faces a dicey future as a majority of elected officials appear unable to coalesce around it.

The Board of County Supervisors has given its staff permission to finalize the purchase of a $15 million Woodbridge property that is currently under contract by the county. The primary proposal for the property has been a national destination for sporting and other types of events, as well as a local hub for use by athletic organizations.

But it’s not clear the board has the support necessary for approval of the sportsplex as concerns abound with the project's $140 million price tag. Board Chair Deshundra Jefferson, the lone Democrat skeptical of the proposal and likely swing vote, said during a Tuesday, May 14, board meeting that she won’t be supporting the project in its current form. Republicans have similarly balked at the plan.

But without support from Jefferson and Republicans, Democrats will be unable to secure the majority needed to approve the plan.

Still, Jefferson ultimately joined members of her party in backing the land purchase, as the site could still be used by the county for other purposes. Jefferson said last week she is “not at liberty” to disclose other potential uses for the property that are in talks among county officials.

Coles Supervisor Yesli Vega, Gainesville Supervisor Bob Weir and Brentsville Supervisor Tom Gordy, all Republicans, opposed the land purchase.

The multi-use facility, which could be the largest of its kind in the Washington region, is proposed for 13505 Telegraph Road along the Interstate 95 corridor, which officials say is ideal to attract clientele for large events from across the East Coast. The facility would feature a hydraulic running track and hard-surface courts used for basketball, pickleball and space for conventions or other events.

Projections from consultants retained by the county show that, if the facility is approved, it will become profitable by its third year of use, netting the county more than $400,000 in revenue that's expected to grow marginally in subsequent years. But that projection doesn’t account for the debt servicing fees the county would be on the line for, and the facility would operate in the red, at the expense of taxpayers, for its first two years in operation.

Additionally, in a May 21 email, Weir told Bristow Beat the company proposing the complex projects a $400,000 profit in year three, whereas the county's estimates are more conservative. 

The board has thus far expended $1 million to allow recreation officials to begin talks with several contractors to flesh out the proposal. It also accounted for an agreement reached with the Telegraph Road site’s current property owner, Belno, LLC, to further sale negotiations.

Seth Hendler-Voss, director of Prince William County’s Department of Parks and Recreation who has headed the proposal, said Friday the land purchase will close next month.

Officials indicated the nearest major competitor to the facility would be a similar site in Virginia Beach and Spooky Nook Sports, the country’s largest indoor sports facility located just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Virginia Beach facility was recently revealed to be facing debts in the millions of dollars. Virginia Beach officials have since offloaded the city’s facility onto a buyer.

This article was shared by InsideNova as per an agreement with Bristow Beat, LLC. All rights reserved. 

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