Sports Club/LA to run Anthony Lanier’s squash facility

Correction: An earlier headline on this article misstated that Sports Club/LA would run Anthony Lanier’s squash facility. This version has been corrected.


Rendering of Squash on Fire -- located at: 2225 M Street, NW (Corner of M & 22nd Streets) (courtesy of EastBanc/courtesy of EastBanc)

Georgetown developer and entrepreneur Anthony Lanier is digging deeper into the business of squash.

That’s the sport — not the fruit.

Lanier, whose EastBanc holding company is breaking ground on a $12 million indoor squash facility in the District’s West End Fire Station later this year, is creating a joint-venture with Sports Club/LA to run and grow its squash training program at the gym’s downtown location in the Ritz Carlton at 22nd and M streets NW.

Lanier has sponsored local squash tournaments in an attempt to elevate the sport’s awareness and create buzz for his Squash on Fire business, which he hopes to expand throughout the East Coast.

His mixed-use residential development will include eight squash courts and a restaurant.

Lanier, whose daughter, Camille, plays squash at University of Pennsylvania, said the squash facility will be the centerpiece of a business that he hopes will create a brand and set a standard for the sport of squash.

“We are trying to create a platform that delivers a uniform product, a higher-elevated squash,” he said, adding that he wants to set a new standard for training that youngsters can use to compete on the college level.

Lanier said that as the costs for the squash courts and the overall development grew, he broadened the ambition for the squash business into something that he could export to cities up and down mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, including New York and Philadelphia.

He even hired Amir Wagih, coach of Egypt’s national squash team, to help develop a squash curriculum that will offer clinics and instruction in a pay-and-play format.

“I want people to be proud that they are wearing Squash on Fire polo shirts,” Lanier said.

EastBanc’s development of the West End Library and Fire Station project, including two mixed-use residential complexes, is estimated to cost $200 million.

The Buzz hears:

The 2014 Fair Chance Butterfly Bash on Nov. 7 will honor Carrie and David Marriott for their help with children’s philanthropies. Former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley will be the children’s awards presenter. The event is at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. David Marriott is an executive at Marriott International. He is the youngest son of hotel mogul J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., and grandson of the company’s founder.

Cambridge International Systems, the Arlington-based surveillance company founded by Kimberly Harokopus, has been hired by the Forever Costa Rica Association to use its radar expertise to protect wildlife around Cocos Island, an uninhabited nature preserve 340 miles off the coast of Costa Rica. Cocos Island is a rich habitat with surrounding waters full of hammerhead sharks, rays and dolphins, but has come under increasing pressure from poachers who want tuna and shark fins.

Linda Roth — PR maven to the local restaurant crowd — is now plugging Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab — which opened first East Coast location in January, just a few steps from the White House. Local sports mogul Ted Leonsis and deal attorney George Stamas both own a piece of the restaurant.

They are Watching you, watching them

Local businessman and sports team owner Raul Fernandez has became an adviser and plans to invest in Radius Networks, a Georgetown start-up that helps retailers, restaurants, sports teams and other businesses track and message in-house customers on their mobile devices. Radius recently purchased the Herndon-based mobile messaging service 4DK, which brought former Sprint chairman Timothy Donahue on the board.

“This technology allows us to know any where our customers are and how much time they are spending in those locations,” said Fernandez, who is vice chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which is the holding company of the Wizards, Capitals and Verizon Center.

The two-year-old company tested the technology at a Georgetown University basketball game at Verizon Center this season, where targeted attendees were asked if they wanted to pay for a seat upgrade. The result was a 25 percent increase in upgrades.

“It’s like an in-game StubHub,” Radius co-founder Marc Wallace said.

Radius sells technology that allows businesses such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores, retailers and airport kiosks to locate loyal customers who are nearby or on their premises. Those businesses can then push promotions and sales, or simply engage with customers.

Radius has raised several million from angel investors, and is planning on an initial round of venture funding later this year. The company has more than 1 million users.

Factoid of the week:

4,257That’s the number of phone calls CustomInk received from customers on April 16 when the company broke its first $1 million day of revenue. The Fairfax County-based custom T-shirt company grossed $1,007,000 that day. CustomInk’s new board member, Ted Leonsis, whose Revolution Growth venture fund invested $40 million into the company, is doing his part to spread the brand’s awareness. At a recent NBA playoff game between the Wizards and Chicago Bulls, CustomInk draped a Wizards-red T-shirt over every single seat in the arena. Free stuff!

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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