A six-minute hearing in Loudoun Circuit Court on Tuesday provided significant relief to years of frustration for the developers of One Loudoun.
After a nearly two-year court battle, Judge Burke F. McCahill signed the order dismissing the lawsuit against Virginia Investment Partnership, the group that worked for more than a decade to build a stadium for an Atlantic Baseball League franchise—to be called the Loudoun Hounds—and a soccer team in Ashburn. The order resulted from a settlement agreement hammered out over the past several weeks and terminates VIP’s lease for the land planned for the stadium near the Rt. 7/Loudoun County Parkway interchange. That’s what One Loudoun Holdings, LLC, asked for in 2014, after a series of delays in VIP’s construction plans called the project’s feasibility into question. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2013, but the stadium never got off the ground.
The case had been set for trial next month. The two sides first told McCahill they were working toward a settlement in early January, but an agreement proved elusive. As they approached the court date, VIP’s final remaining officer, Bob Farren, underwent cancer treatment, which threatened to delay the trial.
Attorneys have been before McCahill each week this month to report on their progress toward a settlement, with nothing definitive to report until Tuesday.
Miller and Smith Vice President Bill May, who leads the One Loudoun development, said he plans to bring the vision of building a stadium for baseball and soccer teams to fruition.
“We look forward to now being able to pursue getting a ballpark, to test the market for a ballpark,” May said. “We think there is a strong demand for this kind of entertainment in the area. We’re going to work very hard to bring it to One Loudoun and to Loudoun County.”
One Loudoun is one of two locations approved for development of a sports stadium. VIP initially won approval to build a stadium in the Kincora development near the Rt. 7/Rt. 28 interchange, but abandoned the site when that development stalled. That zoning remains in place.
The Loudoun market appears well-suited for a sports complex, May acknowledged that there are major hurdles to the project.
“We’re going to have to start from scratch,” he said. And financing will be a challenge. “Getting a ballpark built without public funding is a very difficult task.”
The previous Board of Supervisors rejected a plan that would have allowed the county to help underwrite bonds for VIP’s stadium.
The courtroom dealings in the case may not be over, however. One Loudoun’s attorney previously indicated they may seek formal sanctions against VIP’s original attorneys who filed a $30 million counter-claim lawsuit.