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Chesterfield Economic Development Authority wants to build $7 million indoor sports facility

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Rendering of new indoor facility courtesy Chesterfield County

Chesterfield County is continuing to invest in sports tourism. The county announced Thursday that its Economic Development Authority wants to build a $7 million indoor sports facility at Stonebridge that will be leased primarily by the Richmond Volleyball Club. The proposal needs approval from the Chesterfield County Board of Supevisors. 

The county would finance the building through the EDA, said Garrett Hart, the county's director of economic development, and the authority would lease it. Besides about 50,000 square feet that would be reserved for Richmond Volleyball Club, the county’s Parks and Recreation Department would  lease 5,000 square feet of the building.

The new facility would be located at 200 Karl Linn Drive and, if approved, is expected to be operational by January 2018.

The project at the Stonebridge development just off Midlothian Turnpike represents growth opportunities for both the volleyball club and Chesterfield County, which already is home to many athletic tournaments.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with Chesterfield County Economic Development and Parks and Recreation. We hope to introduce more individuals to the sport of volleyball … This additional facility will allow us the opportunity to grow our programs tremendously,” Darcy Carroll, executive director of the non profit volleyball organization, said in a statement.

The public-private partnership between the EDA and the Richmond Volleyball Club is the latest for the Stonebridge development. It began as a public/private project between the EDA and Crosland, Southeast to transform the former Cloverleaf Mall site into a multimillion-dollar, mixed-use center.  Today, it’s home to Kroger Marketplace, one of the company’s largest stores in the mid-Atlantic region; the Elements at Stonebridge, a Boyd Homes’ luxury apartment community, and the Shops at Stonebridge.

For the past 35 years, RVC has offered year-round programs for adults and juniors.  It has grown from one four-court facility into two facilities with 20 courts serving more than 3,000 members. Richmond Volleyball Club has nearly 400 visitors daily who participate in adult leagues and junior development programs.  The club supports 140 USA Volleyball and recreational junior teams annually.  It also hosts about 51 teams on any given weekend with 57 percent of those teams travelling from more than 60 miles away.

This new facility will allow RVC to increase its one-day tournaments, which occur almost every weekend from January to May, by about 32 teams each day.

RVC also hosts more than 10,000 junior players, coaches, and spectators twice a year in two major tournaments, the combined Boys’ East Coast Championships/Girls’ South Atlantic Championships, and the Monument City Classic. These tournaments are held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and at the club’s current Henrico County location.  According to Chesterfield’s EDA, these two tournaments generate about $9 million dollars in economic impact.

“Sports tourism has been a huge economic driver for the Richmond region in recent years, totaling more than half of our events bookings. Facilities are the number one factor in attracting lucrative tournaments to the area,” said Jack Berry, president & CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “The new space at Stonebridge is an exciting addition to the Richmond Region’s sports tourism offerings.”

Leslie Haley, vice chairwoman of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors and the representative from the Midlothian District, said she was ‘thrilled” by the county’s partnership with the volleyball club.  “The economic impact on the eastern Midlothian area from people visiting this facility for daily events and weekend tournaments will be tremendous!”

The project builds upon a recent expansion of facilities in the region. Chesterfield recently agreed to acquire the River City Sportsplex, a five-field, 115-acre facility in the county, for $5.5 million.

The extra space created by the project for the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department would bring an opportunity for more programming for older adults. Such programs would include classes, workshops, fitness programs and special events.  In addition to the senior programming, the location could be used for community programs, pre-school activities and youth programming.

Besides the indoor sports facility, more retail space looks to be on the way for Stonebridge. Its new owner, S2 Capital Partners LLC, wants to add 15,600 square feet of retail development.

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