The future of a planned field house next to the county's new Cub Run recreation center in Chantilly is in doubt after the collapse of a public-private partnership that was going to pay for the 150,000-square-foot building.
County Park Authority officials said Monday that the agreement between the authority and a private company was dissolved because they were unable to get commercial financing. That is worrisome because park officials have proposed similar public-private partnerships for the redevelopment of the Lorton prison area, among other places.
The Cub Run RECenter, the county's first such facility in 16 years, still will open next to Westfield High School. Officials had set the opening for this fall, but they pushed back the date to early next year. The $18.5 million center is financed through bond sales approved by voters in 1998.
But the so-called West County field house will not be built unless Park Authority and school district officials can come up with a financing solution. The school district, which owns the 28 acres on which the field house would have been built, had offered the land to the Park Authority in exchange for a field house with an indoor track that would serve the county's winter track program as well as host large events such as graduations and concerts.
"This was not the outcome we anticipated," Charlie Bittenbring, director of the Park Authority's park services division, said in a statement. "We dedicated considerable staff resources and felt the field house would greatly benefit our community. Our challenge now is to gather what we learned from this, and move forward with this concept as well as other partnership opportunities in the works," such as Lorton.
In December, the Park Authority signed a lease with West County Field House LLC, a Virginia company formed by D.W. Sivers of Portland, Ore., and Landmark Sports and Entertainment of Clifton.
The lease allowed a limited period for the partnership to secure financing.
Park officials said that despite attempts with several financiers, lenders were not comfortable with a business area in which they had limited experience. Nor were they confident about a project that did not have a guaranteed, long-term revenue commitment, Park Authority spokeswoman Judy Pedersen said in a statement.