After delays pushed back construction of the Loudoun Hounds stadium — and the team’s inaugural day — the anticipated new minor league baseball team today announced plans to move its diamond up the road to One Loudoun, with sites set on a 2014 season.
“Well, HoundsNation, in my last Inside Pitch I told you that our one and only goal is to open our ballpark in 2014,” said Bob Farren, the Hounds’ president and CEO, in a newsletter to fans. “I am happy to tell you that the accomplishment of that goal is looking very, very good.”
The developers of One Loudoun, at Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway, just to the west of the stadium's planned location at Route 28 and Route 7, were enthusiastic.
“We’re excited,” said Bill May, vice president of developer Miller & Smith. “We think this is a major anchor for us that is going to enhance the live, work, play environment.”
The Kincora development at the southwest quadrant of Route 28 and Route 7 apparently had not kept pace with the team’s schedule; the Hounds initially had hoped to be playing in 2012 and the delays have garnered some critics.
“As we have said over the past several months, timing has been the paramount issue,” Farren explained in the newsletter. “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 change comes as three “town centers” are competing to provide environments where residents can live, work and play — vying for attention, and tenants. The Kincora site is between One Loudoun and the Dulles Town Center, and planners pondered during the approval process whether three such developments could all move forward successfully.
May said the move shows that One Loudoun is best prepared to move forward with projects that come along.
“We think One Loudoun’s the best place with the best location in the county for any of the mixed-used projects,” May said.
The move places the Hounds’ stadium near the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, now under construction at One Loudoun, along with lots of new homes. Signs on the property indicate the drafthouse should be open early next year. Miller & Smith previously announced plans for a World Trade Center and, May said, additional announcements were expected later this month.
“We’re off to the races with the leases we have so far,” he said.
Other than the relocation, Farren said the details of the park remain the same, including that it will be privately financed.
“The essential facts of the ballpark which you’ve already heard all about, including its size, amenities, event offerings and the fact that it is financed entirely privately, with no public monies whatsoever, remain true,” he said.
Some critics questioned plans for a stadium tax that could be imposed on events at a professional stadium in the county and used to pay construction costs. Only those attending events would pay the tax, if the General Assembly authorizes and the Loudoun Board of Supervisors institutes it.
Farren said a ceremonial groundbreaking and a second Hounds FanFest will be planned, along with other team-related events.
It’s not yet clear what impact the move could have on the construction of Gloucester Parkway between Loudoun County Parkway and Route 28. Kincora’s developer recently received authorization to obtain a state loan to pay for the project.