A local baseball academy, born out of a longstanding sports facility in Chesterfield County, will soon have a new home field.
RISE Baseball is preparing to build a $2.3 million, 30,000-square-foot indoor center on a portion of 7 acres at 3120 E. Boundary Court and 3401 Old Hundred Road.
A group led by RISE Baseball owner Chris Martin purchased the land last month for $390,000.
RISE Baseball has been operating in 6,000 square feet in the former Richmond Indoor Sports Experience facility at 2300 Oak Lake Blvd., which was sold and rebranded to XL Sports World in 2013.
“(After the sale) I spoke with XL and wanted to keep the RISE name going on the baseball side of things,” Martin said. “So we kept using the name, which was great, with the same kind of philosophy. It’s been going great, it’s just time for us to expand.”
Founded in 2004, RISE Baseball is a developmental and training organization for players age 8 through high school. Its teams travel to play competitively, and the facility also hosts camps and recruiting showcases. RISE’s primary goal is to develop players’ talents and help them play at the next level.
Martin joined RISE Baseball in 2011 and purchased the business in 2013 from Phil Wilson, who also owned the whole RISE business before its sale to XL. Wilson’s son, Tyler, is a pitcher for the Norfolk Tides, the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A team, and spent time in the majors earlier this season.
“We had one or two teams when I was working for Phil. It’s been very successful. Now we have 16 teams and 200-plus kids,” Martin said.
The new facility will have a full-size infield, 14 batting cages, clay pitching mounds, a gym and full menu cafe. Martin said plans aren’t finalized, adding that two basketball courts may be in store for facility as well. That would up the size to 45,000 square feet and cost around $3 million.
“It’s going to be a four- to six-month project once we break ground,” he said. “We want to finalize the capital raise, which will dictate whether we do basketball.”
He’s been in conversation with potential investors and hopes to finalize those efforts by December.
“We hope to begin building in March and move in in September 2018.”
RISE Baseball has seven employees, and Martin said he expects that number to jump as high as 20 once the new facility opens.
The name of the facility is yet to be determined, and architects and contractors for the project have not been named. AES Consulting Engineers’ Edward Glass is the engineer.
Between the building and the planned 150 parking spaces, Martin said the organization will use only about 3 of the 8 acres he owns, leaving room for further growth.
“We’ve talked about what we’ll do, probably either clear the whole thing, or just leave it wooded and open it up for something on the back end.”
Chesterfield County has given Martin the green light for the new building. He said his group likely will need approval from the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors to build a turn-off from Old Hundred into the facility.
After two years of planning, Martin said he acted quickly to acquire the land. Byron Holmes of Porter Realty brokered the deal.
He said the planned Waterford Park down the road made the parcel even more appealing.
“We decided we couldn’t pass up on the land with the waterpark going in down the road. I felt the need to buy right away. I felt like others might swoop in to buy it as an investment to sit on,” Martin said.
Other baseball academies in the area include Tuckahoe Sports Incorporated and RBAWEST Baseball Academy, both located in Henrico.