Kind of a St. James performance club in Restan. Photo courtesy of St. James.
St. James on Thursday announced it would open a “performance club” in downtown Bethesda this winter. The new facility is just under a tenth of its size the flagship megaplex in Springfieldwhich includes a FIFA regulated size lawn field, NHL regulated size rollers and a wall for climbing, as well as many other amenities.
The Washington Business Journal was first to report about the new club. Washington forced the founders of St. James Craig Dixon and Kendrick Ashton call to talk about what will be in Bethesda, which does not yet have a specific opening date.
St. James is “absolutely” planning more locations in the region, Dixon says. (There are already plans a location near Chicago also.) The performance club includes “dynamic spaces for training, agility, strength and conditioning,” Dixon explains, with a significant area set aside for the “Recovery of the Court” program, which is how St. James branded his MedStar Health Rehabilitation Facilities. As elsewhere, there is also the Vim & Victor Café, where customers will have “access to instruction and advice on proper diets, which they show the right proper diet to get the desired results,” Dixon says.
All the rooms are part of what the couple calls the “three program pillars” of the type of facilities commonly used by elite athletes: a training environment with performance, with places that can be adapted for different types of exercise; (space to recover (“the science of exercise has taught us that how you recover is just as important as how you train,” says Dixon); and “really great food, it’s also great for you,” as Dixon says.
The company does not expect its customers at Bethesda to be very different from customers at other facilities. Although institutions are a little more adult-oriented, “we’re still very family-focused,” Ashton says. In fact, he hopes to expand his sports training at the regional level to attract youth teams to his educational institutions.
Prices for the Bethesda Club are not yet available, but they will match prices elsewhere, Dixon says: $ 169 a month in Springfield for access to the entire facility, $ 125 a month in Restan for access to the club’s strictly performance. A full access pass will be available, allowing owners to visit all locations.
I asked Dixon and Ashton what surprised them most when they built this business in the area. “I can tell you we didn’t expect a global pandemic,” Ashton says. (The Springfield Complex opened in late 2018, and Bethesda’s location will occupy the former Washington Sports Club.) Thanks to the pandemic, Ashton says, he realized “how critical it is to identify the best talent in the market.” Customer enthusiasm for the St. James brand, says Dixon, “really allowed us to make the investments we make to expand our presence in the region in ways that were not entirely clear to us when we first set out to build St. James.”