Husband and wife — a former NFL player and volleyball coach — to build $34M sports complex in Austin
Contractors are preparing to break ground in March on a $34 million sports complex in Southwest Austin. The backers of the 69-acre facility, called Junction Athletics Complex, want it to be a regional hub for athletes young and old.
With a unique, open layout, the complex at 8921 West U.S. Highway 290 will house an Olympic-sized pool, a warm-up pool, 12 beach volleyball courts, four grass soccer fields, 12 indoor multi-use courts and a network of wooded trails.
“The main focus is really just to (build) as big of a campus as we can, offering as many sports as we can to families in Central Texas,” said Lindsay Rosenthal, owner and co-founder of Junction Athletics. The idea is to have a “one-stop shop” for everything athletic, she said.
Located 3 miles west of the intersection of 290 and State Highway 71 in Oak Hill, the complex expects to receive its site development and building permits soon, said Todd Tebbe, principal with Aquila Commercial LLC, the project’s developer. General contractor Harvey-Cleary Builders is expected to complete the 92,000-square-foot gym by next spring or early summer.
While the gym will market itself to youth sports and leagues, any individual can sign up for fitness classes or individual memberships to use the facility’s 7,000-square-foot weight-training room. A parent can drop a child off at swim practice and then go upstairs for yoga or watch a game from the deck while sipping on beer from an on-site lounge, Rosenthal said.
“We wanted a space that was welcoming and fun for everyone … where everyone can have something to do,” she said.
Junction Athletics is a passion project for Lindsay Rosenthal and her husband, Mike Rosenthal. The couple met at University of Notre Dame, where Lindsay played volleyball and Mike played football.
Although neither has run a sports complex before, both have experience running programs for private clubs and a public school. Mike, a former NFL player for the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings, is now head football coach/athletics coordinator at Stephen F. Austin High School in downtown Austin. Lindsay previously owned a sports clothing shop called 1379 Sports in Tarrytown and now is a director at Austin Performance Volleyball.
Lindsay Rosenthal said the project is financed through loans and private equity, including investments from several area residents who have sports backgrounds (see full list of investors below).
With three active daughters, Rosenthal said she and her husband have grown frustrated by commuting from their home in South Central Austin to sports facilities north of the city.
“We are constantly driving north to Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander — and kudos to all those (areas) for putting up great facilities — but for anyone in the south, we have been desperate to have some facilities of our own,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said Junction will complement the growing roster of new sports facilities in the greater West Austin area, including Westlake Athletic & Community Center on Westbank Drive; Hill Country Indoor on Bee Cave Parkway; and Austin Aquatics Sports Academy on Southwest Parkway.
Tebbe of Aquila said greater population growth west of town has boosted the demand for sports facilities nearby.
“Not only will (Junction) be the most modern and most recently delivered complex, it’s a privately-owned facility by lifelong athletes and their primary driver is trying to get as many kids [being active as possible],” Tebbe said. The private ownership gives the Rosenthals “a little more latitude” in the design of the facility, he said.
Austin architecture firm Runa Workshop collaborated with the Rosenthals to design an open layout emphasizing connectivity and action.Runa Workshop has previously designed large complexes for Hill Country Indoor, the YMCA in Buda south of Austin, and Northwest Family YMCA in Austin on McNeil Drive. Runa is also involved in the redevelopment of the former Motorola campus in East Austin, now owned by Eightfold Development.
Unlike previous sports projects Runa has worked on though, at Junction “the court is one big open-space which is uncommon and we’re doing a lot of equipment that drops down automatically, so you can quickly reset from basketball to volleyball,” said Aaron Vollmer, principal at Runa.
The entryway features glass walls to allow visitors to immediately see players dribbling balls and running on the courts.
“From the outside you see all the courts, so you’re not even inside the building and you see people playing so it kind of pumps you up,” said Jean Pierre Trou, principal with Runa Workshop. “The whole idea of this concept is … to be connected to the action.”
The Rosenthals, with a group of investors, purchased the land for the complex in 2016 from Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church. Here is a list of investors on Junction Athletics and a bit about their sports backgrounds, according to Rosenthal:
- Mike and Rebecca Cole
- Kurt and Ann Hallead
- Blaine and Barbara Legere
- Warren and Laura Kay
- Robert Hallead
- Jay Lamy, former Rice University football player, and Kelly Lamy
- Rick and Linda Ditto
- Former Texas State University water skier John Haralson and his brother, Matt, who played basketball for Texas A&M University; both run a construction firm in Austin called G Creek
- Former Rice University football player Bill Stone and his wife Audrey
- Former University of Texas swimmer Annie Brown and her husband, former Westlake High School/Rice University athlete Hunter Brown
- Former Vanderbilt University football player Jamie Matthews and his wife Mary Clare, who own the Pond Hockey Club
- Professional triathlete Neilia Bliss
- Collegiate soccer and tennis player Jamie Wheal
- Collegiate lacrosse player Julie Webster
- Kathi Harlson and Meredith Haralson
- Peg Treadwell.
Source: Austin Business Journal
Marissa Luck, Staff Writer