(Washington, DC) – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today joined tennis legend Billie Jean King to announce the Washington Kastles, a new professional tennis team, who are set to build a 2,000-seat temporary stadium downtown to host a month’s worth of matches featuring Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova in July.
“Washington’s a great sports town,” Mayor Fenty said. “The Wizards, Capitals and Mystics are a huge reason Gallery Place has become a bustling entertainment hub. We think the Kastles will give sports fans one more reason to come downtown – or stay downtown -- during the evening.”
The Kastles, owned by local venture capitalist Mark Ein, are the newest team to join the World Team Tennis league, which was founded by King in the 1970s. The team will play seven games during the 2008 season at the temporary stadium throughout the month of July. Serena Williams, one of the biggest names in professional tennis, will represent the Kastles in their first match on July 8, 2008. The team will finish the season in late July, but not before hosting Anna Kournikova – another premier professional player.
The District is working with development partner Hines Archstone-Smith to redevelop the 10- acre Old Convention Center site at Eleventh and H Streets – in the heart of downtown – into an $850 million retail-anchored city center. Since the project will not break ground until early next year, the District has been working with the Downtown DC Business Improvement District to make the site a dynamic place for special events. Past events include performances by Cirque du Soleil and a holiday market.
The total project cost for the temporary stadium is $1.3 million. The District, through the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, has committed to using $200,000 to defray the cost of preparing the site for stadium construction. The bulk of the project cost, $1.1 million, will be provided by private investors.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Kastles will provide more than 1,000 tennis rackets to District kids.