Friday, December 13, 2013 5:10 PM
Published on: Thursday, March 21, 2013
By Holden Wilen
ROCKVILLE - Montgomery County is one step closer to building a multipurpose arena in Shady Grove after developers narrowed a pool of more than 25 architectural design submissions down to three.
D&A Sports and Entertainment LLC is the developer for the privately-funded 6,500 seat, $50 million arena. Tom Doyle, co-owner of D&A Sports, said architectural firms from around the country submitted proposals and the final three firms will make presentations in April to D&A sports.
“There hasn’t been a project that has the potential to bring this much money, excitement and entertainment to this county ever, and I’ve lived in this county all my life,” said Doyle. “There is no down side especially since it is entirely privately funded.”
County Executive Ike Leggett and the executive office support the arena, said Steve Silverman, director for the county’s economic development department, because of the wide-range of potential uses the arena could provide for the county.
“There is tremendous need for such a facility to host high school graduations,” Silverman said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to bring sporting events and cultural events to a larger audience. We see a need and an opportunity.”
In addition to graduations, the arena could host high school sporting events and championships, circuses, concerts, car shows and other events, Doyle said. It will also be used as a meeting and conference center.
“All we have in the county now is the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center that is booked almost daily and nightly,” Doyle said. “Having those events in an arena really provides more for the county.”
The preferred site for the arena is an eight acre parcel owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and is currently used as open-air parking on the west side of the Shady Grove metro station. Doyle said D&A Sports is partnering with Montgomery County to acquire the land, but the county will not pay a dime for the land. The proposal will come from D&A Sports, and the county will present it to WMATA.
Silverman said he expects to work out a deal with the developers in the next 30 days. Currently, the county is waiting for WMATA to okay the deal so it can move forward.
Doyle said the economic impact for the arena will be huge because it will provide jobs, and bring business to the county. Hotels will get booked, he said, and people who are attending the events will spend money at local businesses.
According to published traffic impact statements available online, the impact on local traffic, a concern for many Derwood residents, will be mitigated because the arena will be adjacent to the Shady Grove Metro. “The impact on traffic will be minimal,” Doyle said. Doyle and co-owner William Askinazki encourage residents to contact them if people have questions or comments about the project by visiting www.dandasports.com.