From hipster kiosks at the mall to a Major League Baseball game staged inside Wembley Stadium, “pop-ups” are popping up everywhere — including in the District, where the Washington Kastles kick off their 2019 season Monday night in a new tennis facility on the roof of downtown’s Union Market.
The new 700-seat outdoor venue is a downsize from the franchise’s former indoor home at the Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University, where the Kastles played their last four seasons, but owner Mark Ein predicted the fan experience will be “electric,” as fans will sit closer to the action than they did at Smith Center.
Top-ranked tennis star and College Park native Frances Tiafoe will headline the Kastles’ lineup on opening night.
Ein, a native Washingtonian, said the urban venue unites a diverse audience.
“From its roots as Centre Market, a fresh food venue established more than 100 years ago, Union Market has become a great unifier for our community,” Ein said in a statement on the facility. “Kastles Stadium at Union Market will be the perfect home court for our franchise and will connect people from all walks of life throughout the region.”
The $7 million pop-up will include “VIP Dinner Tables” featuring food from Union Market restaurants. According to plans, a second elevator has been added to help move fans to and from the roof, and there will be staircases at all four corners.
The venue will have nets up to stop tennis balls from flying out into the streets.
“The fans who attend games in this stunning new venue will experience the extensive and growing assortment of offerings in the Union Market District, and those residents who live nearby will enjoy the addition of this unique outdoor recreation and entertainment space,” Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie said.
After the Kastles’ season ends in early August. EDENS, the developer of Union Market, plans to convert the rooftop to an 8,000-square-foot year-round park with entertainment and beverage options along with community programming.
Ein has said the Kastles plan to make Union Market their home for the foreseeable future.