|A rendering of the St. James sports center|
The 435,000-square-foot St. James Sport and Wellness Center will have a multipurpose turf field for full-length competitive soccer, lacrosse, football, field hockey, and softball; two NHL-regulation-sized ice rinks for hockey, ice skating, and curling; basketball/volleyball courts; batting cages; aquatic center; indoor golf simulators; racquet courts; a gymnastics and dance center; laser tag; and rock climbing walls.
It will also have a health and wellness center offering pre and postoperative orthopedic medicine and pediatric care; and a health club with cardio and strength training equipment and yoga, spinning, and Pilates studios; a wellness spa; party rooms in a family entertainment center; a children’s sprinkler park; a café; a shop; and childcare center.
It will be built by the St. James Group LLC on the 6800 block of Industrial Drive on property owned by Washington Gas near Backlick Road, Interstate 395, the beltway, and Edsall Road. The new two-story complex will replace a building and parking lot owned by the gas company.
“This is the kind of development that our Strategic Economic Success Plan encourages,” states a Fairfax County news release. That plan promotes healthy living through increased physical activity, better nutrition, and expanded access to recreation. It calls for the use of empty or obsolete commercial spaces to create “places where people want to live, work, and play.”
County planners believe this 435,000-square-foot facility will be the largest of its kind on the East Coast, although the Washington Business Journal notes that Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Pa., is much larger, at 700,000 square foot.
The St. James center will be membership based, but non-members will be able to sign up for programs. It will accommodate 1,240 people plus 900 spectators. In addition to regular sports and fitness activities, the center plans to host special events, such as tournaments, meets, and athletic showcases on weekends.
As part of the zoning approval, the St. James Group will install a bus shelter, 22 bike parking spaces, bike lanes on Industrial Drive, and other road improvements.
The Reston-based St. James Group, based in Reston, is led by D.C. area businessmen Kendrick Ashton Jr. and Craig Dixon, both of whom have longtime ties to competitive sports. They had initially hoped to build the sports complex in Hensley Park in Alexandria, but that didn’t work out.