Factory to become sports complex White Marsh building to house playing fields

April 03, 1996|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

In a project sparked by the shortage of recreational facilities in Baltimore County, an idle factory in White Marsh is being converted to a complex of indoor soccer and lacrosse fields.

Gerard Novak, president of Freestate Indoor Sports Inc., said his corporation gained occupancy this week to the former Coastal Manufacturing Corp. on Allender Road. An 86,000-square-foot building, which had been used to assemble modular offices, will house three fields for soccer and lacrosse, Mr. Novak said.

He added that two of the fields will be used for roller hockey, and that gymnastics and dance studios may be opened later in adjacent buildings. Mr. Novak said his corporation signed a five-year lease for three buildings at the site. The complex is to open for business within 90 days, he said.

The limited number of indoor soccer facilities in the Baltimore area has left some suburban teams scrambling for playing fields, with some young- sters staying up late on school nights to await their turn to play.

County officials, acknowledging the shortage of recreational facilities in the White Marsh area and elsewhere, are encouraging private-sector development of attractions such as indoor soccer fields.

One site being considered by the county for an indoor sports complex is a 185,000-square-foot building at the closed Northrop Grumman Corp. machining plant in Glenarm, said Al Svehla, deputy director of recreation and parks.

Mr. Novak -- a district sales manager for a water-treatment company, youth soccer coach and part-owner of a nonprofit gymnastics center in Middle River -- said heavy demand for indoor soccer facilities prompted his partnership to undertake the White Marsh project.

"Every team that my son plays for, every league he plays in, people are continually asking, 'When are you going to be open?' " said Mr. Novak, 39. He said he has begun to recruit teams for his facility through recreation officials.

Mr. Novak said he will begin renovations to the factory after receiving zoning approval and building permits.

Rick Townley, chairman of the White Marsh Recreation Council's soccer program, said Mr. Novak's rates -- $360 to $450 per team for an eight-game session -- should allow him to compete with nearby facilities.

Soccer players from the area now use Perring Racquet Club south of Parkville and Maryland Sports Arena in Edgewood. The youngest players have their games on tiled floors in elementary school gymnasiums.

Mr. Townley said Mr. Novak will find an abundant supply of potential customers: About 4,000 children play soccer in White Marsh and Perry Hall.

Pub Date: 4/03/96

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