HENRICO COUNTY, Virginia — On Monday, at the former Virginia Center Commons, construction workers lifted the concrete walls of Henrico County’s new sports and entertainment center. Each panel weighs approximately 100,000 pounds.
This is the latest step in this $50 million project that has been underway since before the COVID-19 outbreak.
The 115,000-square-foot facility includes basketball and volleyball courts and a muster center. Those overseeing the project say its location near Interstate 95 will make it a convenient and popular spot for sports and entertainment opportunities, attracting thousands of visitors.
“They stay at our hotel, eat at our restaurant, buy gas, whatever they need while in town, and many of those tournaments can probably span a two- or three-night stay. , we recently had an event where they stayed here for 10 days,” said Dennis Bickmeier, executive director of the Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority.
In 2021, the Henrico County tournament brought in nearly $60 million in sports tourism. That amount is expected to double with the new facility, Bickmeier said.
“What we missed in not having indoor facilities was estimated at about $33 million. $10,000 is expected to grow rapidly, so it’s not uncommon to think that 60 will double in basically 18 to 36 months.”
Henrico County Supervisory Commission Vice Chairman Frank Thorton, who oversees the Fairfield area where the center is being built, said more tourists means more cars on the roads, and planners are optimistic about this. Said you have to be careful.
“Henrico is getting more urbanized, so there will be more traffic. What we need to do as community stewards is listen to our residents and see where we can make changes and where we can make adjustments. to confirm.”
Thorton said the new center would be a win for many, not just Henrico County, despite potential traffic problems with increased sports tourism.
“This is going to be a boom for Henrico, but this will help our sister area.
Construction is expected to be completed in September 2023. The event he plans to start in 2024.
Nearby, the new GreenCity development, which includes a 17,000-seat arena, is set to open in 2026 on the site of the former Best Product headquarters.