Practice Makes Perfect: 6 New Sports Training Facilities Opening Across The Country
While they do not always generate as much buzz, practice facilities are a vital component for sports franchises. Both in college and in the pros, these facilities draw tens of thousand of fans to the stadium for game day. No matter the sport nor the region, teams are building shiny new practice complexes that also feature retail, office, hotel and wellness components.
Here are six big new practice facilities across the country that have opened in the last year or are under development.
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Size: 91 acres
Delivery: August 2016
Everything truly is bigger in Texas. After spending more than $1B on a new stadium in 2009, the Dallas Cowboys topped that by investing $1.5B in a new practice facility and team headquarters. The city contributed $90M while the Cowboys picked up the rest of the tab.
The Star at Frisco opened last summer and features a 12,000-seat stadium, a 40.5K SF central plaza surrounded by shopping, dining and athletic offerings, plus 400K SF of office space and a hotel. The new campus, designed by Gensler Texas, also includes a rooftop deck and pool.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Size: 125K SF
Delivery: September 2016
The Sixers may not be doing very well in the regular season, finishing among the NBA's bottom four teams every season since 2013, but at least now its players have an incentive not to miss practice. Ahead of last season, the team opened a brand-new 125K SF practice center in Camden, New Jersey — the largest practice facility in the NBA. The team moved from a previous facility it shared with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
More than 16,000 pieces of maple wood flooring were used to create the two full-sized courts and additional six basket areas at the complex. Hoping to conjure up some success from history, the reception desks are made of the wood from Wilt Chamberlain's famous 100-point game.
Atlanta United Football Club
Team: Atlanta United FC
Size: 33 acres
Delivery: April 2017
Atlanta in 2014 was awarded a Major League Soccer expansion team, the league's 22nd club, and it was in need of somewhere to practice. Atlanta United Football Club in April unveiled a new $60M practice facility, dubbed The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, on a 33-acre site in Marietta.
The complex features six full-size fields, including one surrounded by 2,500 seats. It also includes a 30K SF HQ building for the club, locker rooms with 22-foot ceilings, two hydrotherapy pools, a dining room with a balcony overlooking the field and an open-air weight room.
Team: Maryland Terrapins
Delivery: August 2017
The University of Maryland's Cole Field house hosted the 1966 NCAA men's basketball Final Four when Texas Western made history by becoming the first all-black team to win a national championship. The team defeated the all-white Kentucky Wildcats in the game that inspired the movie "Glory Road." But the Terrapins began playing in a new stadium after their 2002 National Championship victory, and since then the facility had been underutilized.
Then in March 2016, the university began demolishing the building's interior to make way for a new football practice facility. University officials unveiled the newly renovated Cole Field House earlier this month, and football coach DJ Durkin said it will be a game-changer for developing and recruiting talent. The project also includes two outdoor fields, strength and conditioning facilities, a sports medicine research center and an orthopedic treatment center.
Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins
Teams: Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins
Size: 75K SF for Bruins, 70K SF for Celtics
The city that has hosted the most championship parades this century is getting a new practice facility worthy of its success. The Boston Landing development features the 75K SF Warrior Ice Arena for the Bruins, which opened in September, and the 70K SF Auerbach Center for the Celtics, opening next summer. Celtics President Rich Gotham, at a Bisnow event hosted at the facility last month, said the new practice center helped the team sign All-Star forward Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128M contract.
The Boston Landing development also includes a 295-unit residential building and a 175-room hotel. The complex will also have 89K SF devoted to office, laboratory and retail space. The city is creating a new $20M infill transit stop to help visitors access the facility.
Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics
Teams: Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics
Size: 118K SF
The Washington Wizards will soon practice at a new facility on the St. Elizabeth's East campus in Congress Heights. The $65M complex will feature a 4,200-seat arena that will be the home court for the WNBA's Mystics. The Wizards will still play their games at the newly named Capital One Arena in Chinatown. The new venue will also host local boxing matches, high school sports tournaments and concerts.
The complex also includes up to 1.5K SF of retail, which could accommodate four restaurant users. The 183-acre St. Elizabeth's East development is ultimately planned to include 1.8M SF of office, 1,300 residential units, 206K SF of retail and at least two hotels.