Developers sketch new $50 million arena for Montgomery County -- Gazette.Net


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A developer is sketching out the details of a new arena near the Shady Grove Metro Station in Rockville.

The arena will cost between $40 million and $50 million, according to William Askinazi, principal for the development company D&A Sports and Entertainment. The project will be privately funded and will not use taxpayer funds.

Askinazi envisions a space where indoor lacrosse championships could take place simultaneously with antique roadshows. A Taylor Swift concert could dominate the space one night, he said, and a Disney show could take center stage the next night.

“It’s truly a multipurpose arena,” Askinazi said.

The arena will be built on eight acres owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, adjacent to the Shady Grove Metro Station. The space is now a parking lot for the Metro station.

Montgomery County awarded D&A Sports and Entertainment with the project more than six years ago, The Gazette previously reported. The project is now in its preliminary design phase.

D&A Sports and Entertainment presented the current status of their project to a meeting of the members of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce in January. The chamber’s president, Marilyn Balcombe, said the developers are working on a lease with WMATA.

“We’re very interested and eager to follow along and see what their progress is,” she said.

Askinazi said the arena addresses a countywide need for a space large enough to host high school graduation ceremonies.

As a Potomac resident, his children graduated from Churchill High School and walked across the stage at Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. But in Montgomery County, “we don’t have a single venue” for graduation ceremonies, Askinazi said.

Once construction begins, it will take about 15 months to complete the arena, he said, but there are no estimates yet on when construction will start. Askinazi said the design will be LEED-certified, include sidewalks made from recycled material and incorporate technology from Apple and Cisco to enhance spectators’ viewing experience.

Askinazi said the facility is projected to have 6,500 fixed seats, with 1,500 more that could be set up on the floor of the arena. By comparison, the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center seats about 18,000, and the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., seats about 20,000.

Since the parcel is currently zoned as a transit-oriented mixed-use development site, the Shady Grove Sector Plan would not need to be amended, according to Montgomery County Community Planner Nkosi Yearwood. Yearwood said no building permits have yet been filed for the site.

scarignan@gazette.net