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A capital sports center project creates a buzz among business owners.

Charleston, W. Va. — A Charleston business owner says plans to build a multi-million dollar indoor sports facility at the Town Center Mall are restoring hope to the local economy.

“Business owners like me trust the economy and the region more to start a business or to invest in a business. ‘ said Adam Arthur, owner of The Football Factory, a youth soccer training facility located downtown. Charleston.

Gym and sport recreation activity renderings.

Arthur told Metro News that the Capital Sports Center, an $80 million investment announced Wednesday by the City of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission, will benefit athletes of all kinds. Children who train are also interested in other sports.

“A lot of soccer kids play basketball. A lot of soccer kids want to swim. It’s always good,’ said Arthur. He is also executive director of FC Alliance, a football club in West Virginia.

The 247,000-square-foot facility will be built on multiple levels at the former Macy’s location and will include 12 volleyball courts, 6 basketball courts, 2 wrestling mats, 8 pickleball courts, fitness center, turf soccer field and running track will be , swimming pool, rock climbing wall, main gymnasium.

Arthur said the success of Dunbar’s Shawnee Sports Complex made it appropriate to have a single indoor facility that hosts regional and national scale events across all sports. Shawnee is an outdoor facility for youth football. Opened in 2018.

“The Shawnee Sports Complex is really a football field, so I’m happy with that,” he said. “They looked at Shawnee and said, ‘If I can do it in football, I’ll do it in four or five other sports.'”

Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Sarango defended the Shawnee Project. He said in Wednesday’s announcement, Capital Sports Center will use the opportunity to purchase monthly memberships to become more public-facing.

Three floors of parking lot B in the mall will be demolished and a complex will be built on top of it.

Ben Sarango

Speaking about the project on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” Salango said the increased foot traffic will keep downtown businesses, including shopping malls, thriving.

“We’re talking about getting hundreds, if not thousands, of people into the mall every day and tens of thousands on weekends,” Sarango said. “Having a big tournament sells out hotels in Yanaka, from Huntington to Beckley. That’s what we saw at Shawnee.”

Restaurants and bars will also be affected soon, Sarango said.

“We don’t even have a shovel on the ground. I already have restaurants reaching out, businesses reaching out, hotels calling,” he said. “Restaurant is asking for available space in the mall.”

The Capital Sports Center is part of Charleston Mayo Amy Shuler Goodwin’s overall revitalization plan to beautify downtown Charleston and generate tourism. Earlier this year, the city opened its newest outdoor facility, Slack Plaza, and the rebuilt Kanawha County Public Library Main Branch.

Sarango said the funding would come from a private partnership and a possible bond issue to pay for the rest.

“If you look at the Clay Center, if you look at the library remodel, it was all privately funded. he said.

Companies can also display their logos at the new sports facilities, Sarango said.

“Everything in the facility can be branded. Every basketball court has a corporate logo. There are so many opportunities for corporate partnerships,” he said.

Hearings will be held next month, and construction drawings are expected to be submitted within the next six to nine months, Sarango said. It may take him over two years to complete the project.

Hull Property Group, LLC, the manager of the Charleston Town Center Mall, released a statement Thursday supporting the proposal.

A statement said the plan is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that will “amplify the future success of Charleston, its citizens, and property owners.”

A Georgia-based property developer purchased the mall for $7.5 million over a year ago.

Both the former Macy’s building and parking lot are owned by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority (CURA), not by the mall.

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