Loudoun Hounds stadium to relocate to One Loudoun
By Caitlin Gibson,
The owners of the Loudoun Hounds professional baseball team announced Monday that they had reached a deal to relocate the team’s stadium from the planned Kincora Village Center to One Loudoun, a development near the intersection of Route 7 and the Loudoun County Parkway in Ashburn.
The stadium was originally approved in 2010 by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors as a major component of the planned Kincora development, a mixed-use office and retail complex at routes 7 and 28.
At the time, the Hounds’ owners, VIP Sports and Entertainment, aimed to open the ballpark by 2012 — a date that was pushed back repeatedly as Kincora’s developers grappled with funding delays for surrounding road improvements.
In a statement Monday, Bob Farren, president and chief executive of VIP Sports and Entertainment, said the team’s “one and only goal is to open our Ballpark in 2014. I am happy to tell you that the accomplishment of that goal is looking very, very good.”
The Hounds, a minor league team that is part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, might wind up sharing the stadium with a professional soccer team as well. VIP has also been in talks with the North American Soccer League about the possibility of bringing a franchise to Loudoun in time for the 2014 season. VIP’s franchise bid could potentially be approved by the NASL later this month.
The new stadium location is a little more than a mile west of the stadium’s original projected site at Kincora. But David D’Onofrio, spokesman for VIP, said the team’s owners think the surrounding infrastructure and traffic patterns at One Loudoun are better suited to the addition of a stadium.
“As we have said over the past several months, timing has been the paramount issue,” Farren said in the statement. “While we wish our friends at Kincora the very best in their endeavors, the One Loudoun project is ready today for our Ballpark and will be a great home and partner to VIP.”
The details of the stadium will remain the same, according to VIP: The facility will include 5,500 permanent seats and can accommodate up to nearly twice as many spectators. The Hounds will play 144 games in a season, 72 at home, according to VIP.
The facility, which is financed entirely by private funds, is also expected to bring 40 to 50 full-time jobs and about 200 part-time jobs to Loudoun.
In addition to hosting baseball and soccer games, Farren has also said he envisions the stadium being used to host community festivals, concerts and other sporting activities and events.
In the coming months, Farren said, the team’s owners “will have a better feel for exact dates of major events.”
The team plans to host a ceremonial groundbreaking, a second Hounds FanFest and other events in the coming months, he said in the statement.
Additional steps lie ahead before the move is finalized. To construct a stadium at One Loudoun, which is approved for a mixed-use town center development, the stadium site will have to be rezoned. Such an amendment to the county plan will require approval by the county Board of Supervisors.
“For the section where the ballpark will be, we’ll have to go through a process with the county,” D’Onofrio said. “We’ve already had conversations with the county, and we believe that this will still work with a timeline to open in 2014.”
Board Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) and Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run) will propose a motion at the Oct. 16 board meeting that would expedite the review of the One Loudoun application, county staff members said.
The Kincora Village Center development was given a green light after two rezoning applications were approved by the Board of Supervisors in July 2009 and July 2010. At the time, many Loudoun residents expressed concern about the impact of stadium traffic on overwhelmed local roads.
One Loudoun, which is west of Kincora, has deemed itself “Loudoun County’s New Downtown.” The project broke ground in 2007, but was put on hold during the recession. Last year, Sekisui House, a Japanese firm, bought a majority stake in the project.
The firm, along with original developer Miller & Smith, began work on the project again in July.
“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Loudoun Hounds. One Loudoun is the ideal location for this sports and entertainment venue and we are proud to be working with Bob Farren to make his vision for a new ballpark in Loudoun County a reality,” Bill May, vice president of Miller & Smith, said in a news release.
Jonathan O’Connell and Steven Goff contributed to this report.