Even under the best of circumstances it’s hard to finance new-ballpark construction, but as VIP Sports & Entertainment found out, financing a new facility for the Loudoun Hounds ended up being a losing proposition — and there’s no money to move forward.
Yesterday we covered the developments surrounding legal moves initiated by the developer of One Loudoun to declare a lease for a new 10,000-seat ballpark with VIP void. The legal argument: the team’s ownership did not fulfill the terms of the lease by arranging financing for the new ballpark in a timely fashion. And it would certainly appear that was the case: VIP closed down its Dulles office and told shareholders there’s no money left to move forward. Still, founder Bob Farren seems determined to keep the proposal ballpark rolling despite the heavy odds and some $4 million in adverse legal decisions, as well as an economic plan reportedly rejected by independent Atlantic League leaders as being too expensive. From the Washington Post:
Now, two new developments appear to be driving the Hounds toward extinction. First, their stadium landlords at One Loudoun terminated their lease and sued the team’s parent company, Virginia Investment Partnership, to have the lease declared void. Then, team owner and VIP president Bob Farren sent out a letter to his investors saying he had laid off all employees, closed the team’s offices and “there is no money to go forward.” In addition, three creditors have obtained legal judgments in recent months totaling more than $4 million against VIP.
But Farren is still fighting. “The Hounds are not dead,” Farren said Monday. “There are still investors, there are still businesses, there are still politicians who have encouraged me over and over again to not give up. There are still a lot of people that want this to happen. Loudoun County is the best underdeveloped sports and entertainment market in the country.”
Still, baseball in Loudoun is not on the near horizon. The earliest that the Hounds could be released is now 2016, and that will take some quick work by Farren and his lawyers. Some of Farren’s investors have given up, as have some of his employees, but Farren said there is still hope for the Hounds.
While Loudoun County is still seen by many baseball industry insiders as being a desirable place to plant a baseball team, VIP Sports is in a heavy hole and no assets to leverage. The owners of One Loudoun have reportedly been talking about a replacement facility developer, perhaps one that would stick only with baseball or pro soccer, but it’s unlikely you’d see anything other than independent baseball there: Loudoun County adjoins Price William County, where the Potomac Nationals (High Class A; Carolina League) hold territorial rights.
RELATED STORIES: One Loudoun breaks with baseball, soccer teams; Hounds seek new bonds for ballpark construction; New Hounds ballpark approved; Local residents: Loudoun Hounds, stay off our lawns!; Loudoun Hounds: We have deal for 2014 ballpark; Pro soccer could revive Loudoun Hounds ballpark plan; New Loudoun ballpark delayed; New for 2012: Loudoun Hounds; Three finalists announced for new Loudoun team name; On tap for new Loudoun ballpark: microbrewery; Loudoun supervisors OK new Atlantic League ballpark; Baseball advisory board formed in Loudoun County; New Loudoun ballpark close to go?
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.