Dulles Gymnastics Academy Signs 17,040 SF Lease with St. John Properties, Representing First Tenant at Arcola Center

Children’s movement and gymnastic facility “jumping” from existing Sterling location to take advantage of building’s open layout, proximity to families, amenities, and visibility

(Image credit: St. John Properties)

Dulles Gymnastics Academy, a youth-oriented movement and gymnastics facility founded in 1972, is relocating to Arcola Center, representing the first tenant in St. John Properties’ 34-acre business community in Dulles, Virginia. Owners Deborah and Jeffrey Walk signed a lease for 17,040 square feet within 24730 Arcola Center Plaza, and plan to move from Sterling upon completion of the 37,080 square foot flex/R&D building early next year. Last spring, St. John broke ground on the first phase a development at the business community, which includes four buildings comprising 130,000 square feet of flex/R&D space at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Dulles West Boulevard. St. John Properties’ Danny Foit represented the landlord and Skip Dawson of Verity Commercial represented the tenant in this transaction.

Dulles Gymnastics Academy provides a range of exercise and fitness classes and training sessions, for boys and girls ranging from those just walking to individuals in their 20s. The academy provides an introduction to the world of gymnastics for youth in pre-school and kindergarten, but also offers advanced training to elite-level youngsters in middle and high school interested in performing in advanced competitions. The group’s Development, XCEL and Trampoline and Tumbling teams are consistently nationally ranked and compete across the country. More than 25 people are expected to work in the new facility.

“The new location is a game-changer for us in so many respects,” said Deborah Walk. “We maxed out our potential in our existing building given space restraints and over time realized that we missed opportunities given the poor visibility of our site and the relative lack of amenities nearby. The Arcola Center location corrects each of these issues, significantly elevates our brand and will enable us to introduce additional programming and classes to take Dulles Gymnastics to the next level. More importantly, the move benefits our students and their families.”

The new programming will include classes targeting special needs youngsters using Rebound Therapy principles. “We recently worked with an elite coach who overcame her sensory perception challenges and that inspired us to introduce programming to help those individuals dealing with social anxiety, over-stimulation or are on the spectrum. When you get these youngsters in a gym environment, they immediately get excited, quickly blend in with others, and are able to compete at a high level. It is extremely gratifying, and this is something we plan to offer during our morning hours when most of our students are busy with school,” she added.

Walk explains that Dulles Gymnastics earns and retains students for many reasons with the motivation among some families focusing on the socialization aspects of the program. “Gymnastics teaches discipline, working hard to achieve a particular goal and interacting with others,” she said. “Our after-school programs help students complete their homework assignments and provides a safe and comfortable environment that parents are comfortable with. You don’t have to have an Olympic gold medal on your mind when you take our classes. We offer something for everyone.

“The Walk’s added that the majority of its instructors are former students which is “the highest compliment” and that “everyone that comes here leaves as better people.”

Jeffrey Walk adds that the Arcola Center facility will enable Dulles Gymnastics to offer a higher volume of shows and demonstrations, and provides additional space for its summer camps. “We have learned that families do not wish to travel too far to access programming, and we were attracted by the high density of homes in the nearby area. For parents waiting for their children, they can spend time in the nearby shops and restaurants. The facility itself serves our purposes with the high ceilings and generous parking. We will also be able to install our trampoline pits into the building foundation, which will improve the safety of the equipment. St. John Properties understands our needs explicitly and they bent over backwards to address every requirement.”

Each of the four buildings currently under development will range from 29,404 to 37,080 square feet, and feature free parking and flexible suite sizes to support the real estate needs of professional services, tech firms, light manufacturing, retail-type uses, logistics companies, and a variety of other end-users. The single-story buildings will be constructed with 16-18’ clear minimum ceiling heights. In addition, the buildings have been designed to earn LEED© certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Buildings receive this designation based on the use of sustainable and locally-sourced building materials and the implementation of construction practices designed to conserve energy and resources while creating an eco-friendly environment.

In January 2022, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors granted final approval to St. John Properties for a zoning change of Arcola Center to reflect existing and expected market demand for flex/office product. Following the decision, St. John Properties revealed its intentions to develop 10 flex/R&D and office buildings in total, comprising up to 450,000 square feet.  Prior to approval by the Board of Supervisors, the project received unanimous approval from the Loudoun County Planning Commission.

“Our first lease with Dulles Gymnastics Academy is indicative of the wide range of uses we expect to attract to Arcola Center,” said Matt Holbrook, Regional Partner, Virginia, and Central Maryland for St. John Properties. “When rezoning the property, we explained that Loudoun is suffering from a severe constraint of available flex/R&D product to support new and expanding companies. This lack of space is limiting local businesses, job creation, and economic diversity that the community desires. And with extreme land pricing and limited land availability in Loudoun, construction of new flex/R&D buildings is rare these days. So, we are even more delighted be bringing new space online at Arcola Center.

“Dulles Gymnastics Academy is operated by passionate entrepreneurs that have demonstrated their excellence for many years. We anticipate that they will enjoy great success at Arcola Center and we are grateful for the valuable service they will provide for the local community,” Holbrook added.

Arcola Center is located adjacent to the Dulles Landing shopping center and the future Shops at Arcola Center. It is also within close proximity to South Riding Market Square, Avonlea Town Center, and Brambleton Town Center. Arcola Center is approximately five miles from the Dulles Toll Road (VA Route 267) and Dulles International Airport, 11 miles from Leesburg, 16 miles from Tysons Corner and 30 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1971, St. John Properties, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest and most successful privately held commercial real estate firms. The company is distinguished by its commitment to customer service, achievements in green building, and top-rated workplace culture. Throughout St. John Properties’ 53-year history, the company has developed more than 24 million square feet of flex/R&D, office, retail, and warehouse space and has investments in over 3,000 residential units. The company proudly serves more than 2,600 clients in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Utah, and Wisconsin. For more information about the company, visit www.sjpi.com.