Addressing the issue of stadium-related development directly, MLS’s Philadelphia Union unveiled plans for WSFS Bank Sportsplex, a 32-acre, $55-million sports and recreation complex designed to spur economic activity along the Chester Waterfront.
When pitched to local officials, Suburu Park was positioned as an economic development tool designed to bring more investments to the Chester Waterfront area. But the anticipated economic development didn’t happen.
WSFS Bank Sportsplex is designed to address that shortcoming. WSFS Bank Sportsplex is positioned as a 365-day-a-year, 170,000-square-foot sports and recreation complex, creating jobs and tourism while injecting millions of dollars into the Chester community. The state-of-the-art sports complex will span 32 acres between Subaru Park and the Union Power Plant office building. The complex will include a 100,000-square-foot indoor facility available for community use and an adjacent 70,000-square-foot support building that will house Philadelphia Union II (MLS NEXT Pro) as well as the Philadelphia Union Academy. The indoor facilities will include a 125×75 yard turf field, two courts capable of hosting four cross-width courts, a 20,000-square-foot performance center with weight room and sprint track, locker rooms, and a café for athletes and guests. The indoor facility will be complemented by seven outdoor multi-sport fields including one championship grass field with spectator seating, two additional full-size grass fields, one youth-size grass field, and three full-size turf fields.
The build is estimated to create $90 million in economic impact over the first decade and provide 500,000 visits annually to the Chester waterfront. In addition to the positive economic impact, the sportsplex will donate hundreds of additional hours in court and field time for community use and health and wellness programming, available to be used by Chester youth and local organizations.
“This best-in-class facility will provide a singular home for our professional and academy teams while creating a premier destination for local youth groups to fall in love with sports. Alongside Subaru Park, WSFS Bank Sportsplex will become another centerpiece of our club and community strategy and I could not be more proud to see this project come to fruition,” said Philadelphia Union Principal Owner Jay Sugarman via press release.
“The announcement of WSFS Bank Sportsplex is the beginning of an important next chapter for the Philadelphia Union and the growth and development of the Chester Waterfront,” said Tim McDermott, Philadelphia Union President, via press release. “The heart of this project is our commitment to community and our desire to be an agent for positive change. We are proud to do this alongside a like-minded organization in WSFS Bank and look forward to enriching the lives of young aspiring athletes in the Philadelphia area.”
Groundbreaking on the WSFS Sportsplex is set to take place in Winter 2022/2023, with the outdoor fields in place by August 2023 and the indoor facilities to open June 2024.