Construction has begun on ABOVE Athletic Center, an elite sports training center that will lease space to several youth athletics programs in the Nocatee area.
With a total area of approximately 63,500 square feet, the sports and recreation facility will be located on the eastern side of Philips Highway, just north of Nocatee Parkway and Race Track Road. The building plan includes an indoor gymnasium with two large multi-purpose courts, six outdoor sand volleyball courts, an “airnasium” – or covered turf space – for softball and additional commercial sports space. The complex will also include a medical building that will house several health and wellness retail tenants, including a youth concussion treatment center, a physical therapist and an urgent care practice.
“It’s going to be a first-class facility,” said Jay Glatting, head of leasing and management at ABOVE Athletics. “It’s being built and designed around youth sports programs for people committed to their training—the kids that are trying to get to the next level, whatever that level is.”
Glatting said that, as a former resident of Nocatee’s Willow Cove neighborhood and a father of competitive athletes, he recognized the potential for a sports facility in that area.
“Being so close to the Nocatee community, and with the influx of families to the area, we hope to be a one-stop shop for elite youth athletics for families,” he said. “We see an opportunity to be a leader in the more specialized, elite sports and recreation market, and hope to eliminate drive time for Nocatee families to other athletic facilities that are farther away.”
Glatting added that the centrality of ABOVE Athletics Center’s location will make it accessible to athletes in other areas of Jacksonville as well.
“It’s far enough south to serve the northern part of St. Johns County, but it also serves the southern Duval area that is already more mature,” he said. “We recognized the tremendous growth potential and demand for these programs in St. Johns County, but it was a location that was still convenient for the areas that had already been developed.”
The inspiration for the facility, Glatting said, came to him while seeking a new permanent location for his son’s basketball coach, Jim Martin.
“It just kind of grew into a $5.5 million project, when really we were just trying to find a gymnasium for Coach Martin to lease,” Glatting said. “I’ve watched his program grow from 50 to 500 kids, and the one thing that holds back somebody like Coach Martin – or somebody doing youth sports – from being more successful is not having a full-time location that they can run their program out of.”
Martin, who is the head varsity basketball coach at the Providence School in Jacksonville, is also the director of Jacksonville Basketball Academy, an elite youth training program that coaches boys and girls in basketball. According to Martin, the program’s new Philips Highway location will benefit many of the kids currently in his program.
“We have a location now off Beach Boulevard, and we have a bunch of kids who travel into that location, but it’s such a long drive to get out to the Beaches area,” Martin said. “Now with this new facility, we’re going to be able to accommodate the skills development on the basketball side for the kids who live out in [the Nocatee] area. So, we’re excited to get out there, we have quite a few kids that come to us, and now we get to come to them.”
In addition to Jacksonville Basketball Academy, other programs have already signed on to operate out of the ABOVE Athletic Center, including MaxFit gym and Five Tool Softball Training. The complex is scheduled to open by the end of this year.