Update, Jan. 12, 2017: A demolition permit was issued late last year; construction should begin in the near future.
The Board of Zoning Appeals approved a new 435,000 square-foot sports, fitness and wellness complex in Springfield on Wednesday called the St. James Sport and Wellness Center. Our land use planners believe this facility will be the largest on the East Coast, next to Chelsea Piers in Connecticut.
St. James Group LLC will construct the two-story building at the 6800 block of Industrial Drive, near Backlick Road and the Mixing Bowl. This is the kind of development that our Strategic Economic Success Plan encourages. This economic success plan calls for promoting healthy living through increased physical activity, better nutrition and expanded to recreation; creating places where people want to live, work and play; and reusing empty or obsolete commercial spaces.
The 24/7 complex will rise up on an industrial property that’s owned by Washington Gas, and the utility’s building and parking lot will be torn down to make way for the new center.
Some of the features of the center include:
- A multi-purpose turf field for full-length competitive soccer, lacrosse, football, field hockey and softball.
- Two NHL regulation-sized ice rinks for hockey, figure skating, open skating and curling.
- Aquatics center.
- Basketball and volleyball center.
- Baseball and softball center.
- Golf and racquet center.
- Gymnastics and dance center.
- Laser tag, rock climbing walls, and party rooms in a family entertainment center.
- Health and wellness center that will include orthopedic medicine, pre- and post-operative rehabilitation and pediatric care.
- Health club with cardio and strength training equipment and yoga, spinning and Pilates studios.
The 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 like tournaments, meets and athletic showcases on weekends.
As part of its zoning approval, the St. James will pay to build and install a bus shelter. The location is already served by Fairfax Connector, but the stop currently lacks a shelter. The complex also will provide 22 bike parking spaces, bike lanes on Industrial Drive and other road improvements.