Push for Shady Grove arena refueled -- Gazette.Net


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Developers are eyeing a piece of land near the Shady Grove Metro station on which they propose to build an arena.

Tom Doyle and William Askinazi hope to construct the venue — which they say can be used for high school graduations and the like — on property now owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“We want to make it an attraction for the county,” said Doyle, owner of the Washington Greenhawks, a professional basketball organization. “And it’s about time we’ve got something over here.”

Askinazi did not return calls for comment.

Skanska, builders, and SMG World, a management company, will work with Askinazi and Doyle.

The arena would have between 7,000 and 10,000 fixed seats. Family shows, concerts and minor league sports events would take place inside.

Metro expects to receive a formal proposal from the developers, said Cathy Asato, with Metro media relations. Doyle and Askinazi sent it to the agency on Tuesday.

“This has been expected for some time, as we received a letter from County Executive [Isiah] Leggett a year or so ago asking us to reserve the parking lot land there to enable the county to submit a proposal,” Asato said in an email.

Metro did so and held meetings with the county regarding Metro’s transit operating needs at Shady Grove, she said.

When evaluating the proposal, Metro will consider the following:

Ÿ Replacement of parking spaces displaced;

Ÿ Operational needs of buses, taxis, Kiss and Ride and American with Disabilities Act passengers;

Ÿ Access to the Shady Grove Rail Yard;

Ÿ Increased ridership and revenue;

Ÿ And land value.Potential negotiations with the county require approval from Metro’s board of directors and a public hearing.

The arena will cost between $40 million and $120 million, Doyle said, and will be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified structure. LEED is an internationally recognized standard for green design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings.

Building the arena, proposed more than six years ago, depends largely on finding a location in Montgomery County, Doyle said.

“After all the years of trying to find a spot, this really is ideal,” Doyle said. “It’s right at the Metro stop.”

The land is 8 acres, though the arena would take up about 3 acres, Doyle said.

The arena would bring 750 jobs once it is operational, Doyle said, and help boost the economy by bringing more people to the area.

The project has Leggett’s support, said Tina Benjamin, director of special projects for the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. The project is funded with private money.

“We’re kind of thinking about this, but there’s nothing definitive by any means,” Benjamin said about the county’s stance on the project.

abryant@gazette.net