The Wilmington Hammerheads youth program leased 15,000 square feet of space in an industrial building last week for what's expected to be the second of only two indoor soccer facilities in the area.
The property, at 3132 Kitty Hawk Road in the North Kerr Industrial Park, will be used for indoor soccer practice and some camps, said Mark Briggs, technical director for the Hammerheads youth program and assistant coach for the Hammerheads professional team.
Nearly 3,000 children participate in the youth program, 1,500 in the recreational division, 800 in competitive, 300 in outreach and 150 in the organization's academy program.
“It rains quite a lot in Wilmington heading into the spring and then heading into the fall also,” Briggs said. When that happens, he said, a majority of outdoor fields are closed, “so we needed space for our kids to be able to continue to play.”
The five-year triple net lease of the warehouse, which includes office space and was formerly used for document storage, is also a positive outcome for a property that had been vacant for several years.
“We were excited to work with them [the Hammerheads youth program]. We think they’re a great organization. They’re a good user for the building,” said P.J. Doherty, a managing partner and broker with Wilmington-based Carolina Commercial Investment Properties, who represented the landlord in the transaction.
Will Leonard, vice president of brokerage for Cape Fear Commercial, represented the Hammerheads.
The full-time staff for the Hammerheads youth program, a nonprofit organization known as Wilmington Hammerheads FC, is moving to the new location from Oleander Drive and is in the midst of working on getting the needed renovations going for the facility, Briggs said.
Offices for the professional Hammerheads team will remain at 108 Grace St. in downtown Wilmington, he said.
In addition to practice, some of the youth program's camps are expected to be held in the Kitty Hawk Drive facility.
The only other indoor soccer facility for youth, Off the Wall Sports, is located at 203 Antilles Court in Wilmington, according to Off the Wall's website.
Youth sports are an economic driver in the Cape Fear, and they are expected to continue to be a factor in future growth, said Connie Nelson, spokeswoman for Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau in a Greater Wilmington Business Journal article published in January.
Some national reports estimate that youth sports traveling, by itself, results in billions of dollars of spending nationwide.
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