Tumblers Gymnastics anchors revolutionary local $20M sports facility development

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–By Ottawa Sportspage, For Tumblers Gymnastics Centre

Tumblers Gymnastics Centre is no stranger to energy and excitement, but the buzz reached a new fever-pitch during the June unveiling of plans to build an innovative new facility for the Orleans club, led by a group of Ottawa’s best-known developers.

“They want something better than I put up with in my generation,” says Bruce Firestone, the Ottawa Senators founder and partner in the group leading the $20 million project. “I’m super excited about it.”

Dubbed “Fortitude”, the new development seeks to transform the image of what a community sports facility should look like.

“The belief was that if you’re not a professional performer at athlete in this city, or close to it, you can never expect to play or perform in a facility that is anything but ordinary. You should expect to be in a repurposed warehouse, a high school gym or a basement in a shopping plaza,” explains Brian Dagenais, President of Black Sheep Developments. “The aim with this, quite frankly, would be to be a world-class facility.”

As the anchor tenant, Tumblers’ home would grow substantially to 25,000 square-feet, opening up the possibility of hosting national or international-level competitions and welcoming top coaches from around the world (who could stay at a prospective short-term residence).

Fortitude as a whole will be roughly triple that size, featuring an integrated sports services hub housing other complimentary recreational sports clubs, education or music schools, food services, health care professionals, related retail stores, and an outdoor area for public use.

The effect will be to create a destination rather than multiple isolated drop off points, to ease the busy family schedule and focus on the health of each family member.

“As gymnastics is the foundation of all sport, so too is Fortitude to a family’s health and well-being,” the developers note. “It will be a place at the heart of the community where the entire family can become engaged.”

Architect Douglas Cardinal, renowned for his work on the Canadian Museum of History and the Wabano Centre among many projects, has been tapped to design the building. It is set to open by 2019 on Mer-Bleue Road near Innes.

“There is a genuine interest on the team that’s working to build this property to leave some sort of legacy for the community,” Dagenais highlights. “If it serves as a model for others to be built, whether in Ottawa, or another city, then it has a chance to be something very, very special.”

The company’s Black Sheep name stems from a desire to do things outside the norm – like Dymon shifting storage from an industrial setting to attractive urban spaces, or Movati Athletic turning their field on its head.

“For amateur athletics and performances, maybe we can do the same,” Dagenais adds. “The more people I talk to, the more this seems like an opportunity whose time has come.”

Find out more and view conceptual sketches at: blacksheepdevelopments.com

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