2012-05-30 / Front Page

SportsQuest Genito complex auctioned

Carpet manufacturer is new owner
By Michael Buettner

A flag football game on SportsQuest's Genito Road fields. 
Ash Daniel/Chesterfield Observer A flag football game on SportsQuest's Genito Road fields. Ash Daniel/Chesterfield Observer The new owner of the SportsQuest athletic complex sold at auction last week has told county officials it’s evaluating the long-term needs of the facility and plans to work with the county to plan future activities there.

County Administrator Jay Stegmaier told the Board of Supervisors last week that county staff members have talked with representatives of the new owner, Shaw Industries of Dalton, Ga., about the company’s plans for the 115-acre athletic complex on Genito Road.

Shaw, and its newly formed Virginia subsidiary, Sports Complex Holdings, “have reached out to the county to let us know that they are focusing on addressing some existing needs at the facility and planning for the future of the facility,” Stegmaier said at the board’s May 23 meeting.

Shaw, one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, moved recently to foreclose on the Sports- Quest complex after the company filed a lien on the property claiming that SportsQuest owed it some $15 million for artificial turf provided by Shaw.

On May 29, the 115-acre complex and a nearby 5-acre parcel also owned by SportsQuest were put up for auction on the steps of the Circuit Court building. The auction drew a crowd of about 35 onlookers, including attorneys, members of the media and county employees, but no rival bidders.

Shaw’s representative then entered bids totaling $4.7 million for the two parcels – $4.26 million for the 115-acre plot and $450,000 for the 5-acre parcel – and was awarded ownership.

Speaking the day after the auction, Stegmaier told the Board of Supervisors that Shaw has told the county that “it is their intention to work with the county under the terms of the existing lease to continue to plan recreational activities at the facility.”

Stegmaier said the county has told Shaw “that we are looking forward to working with them to continue providing great services for all of our young people and the others who use those outstanding facilities.” The auction was the culmination of months of mounting legal and financial challenges for Midlothian-based SportsQuest, including the filing of several mechanics liens against its properties and a civil suit by the state Attorney General’s Office.

SportsQuest’s board replaced its founder, Steve Burton, as general manager and embarked on financial and legal audits in an effort to determine what options it had for future operations, according to Dudley Duncan, SportsQuest’s new general manager; he spoke with the Observer in April.

The company’s difficulties drew widespread attention in part because the county had paid SportsQuest $4.3 million in 2010 to lease the athletic fields for 20 years.

The agreement gives the county use of the field on Mondays through Thursdays and on one weekend a year.

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