The U.S. Soccer National Training Center development agreement, a $64 million STAR bond project, was approved tonight by the Unified Government Commission.
It will be part of an almost $665 million project when the district is completed, according to George Brajkovic, UG economic development director. The agreement was between OnGoal, owner of Sporting Club, and the UG.
The U.S. Soccer development is to be built in an area that includes some Schlitterbahn property near 98th between State and Parallel Parkway and some Speer family property near 94th and State Avenue, according to Brajkovic.
As part of the project, there will be a National Training Center and tournament fields built for U.S. Soccer, he said. The NTC is a $26 million project; the tournament fields, $17.5 million; land acquisition, $10 million; and parking, $1 million.
An amendment to a venture agreement also approved tonight would build eight additional futsal courts throughout the county, added to two existing ones already in use at Wyandotte High School, Brajkovic said. Futsal is a smaller version of soccer played on an asphalt-surfaced court about the size of a tennis court. Some tennis courts in the community are being converted to futsal courts in this proposal.
Also, eight tournament fields would be planned for the Speer family farm site east of 94th and State Avenue, and not at Wyandotte County Park as originally proposed, according to Brajkovic. There are spaces for four additional tournament fields in the plans either at the Speer site or at the National Training Center site. The fields are scheduled to be built by the spring of 2017.
There will be a 50-acre unplanned area available for development along State Avenue east of 94th Street (east of Schlitterbahn and the Frontier Restaurant). Todd LaSala, an attorney working with the UG, said OnGoal would be the primary developer of the southern half of the land along State Avenue for two years.
OnGoal will have the first right to propose projects to the UG and have access to the site. They would have to present plans to the UG for approval for development, LaSala said. The UG would own the site, and OnGoal would pay the UG close to $57,000 an acre for that frontage property if they exercise the development rights. It is the same amount being paid under the option agreement with the Speer family.
During the same two-year period, the UG will have the right to propose developments to the developer. At the end of two years, the UG would be the developer, he said. No industrial uses or ticketed events for hockey would be allowed, according to LaSala.
At the National Training Center, which is close to Parallel Parkway on 40 acres of Schlitterbahn property, a 100,000-square-foot facility is proposed, Brajkovic said. There will be some combination of indoor and outdoor fields, he said. OnGoal will lease the site from Schlitterbahn.
Robb Heineman, CEO of Sporting Club, said it was not the easiest of sites because of grade and elevation changes. “I really like this site now,” he said. They have just begun the design process. People will enter off Parallel and look down to the lower fields. “We like this design a lot.”
Brajkovic said the futsal double court sites are planned at Bethany Park, Highland Park, Welborn Park and Westheight Park. Existing single futsal court sites, with an option for the UG to construct another asphalt base for a second court, will be at Edwardsville Park, Harmon High School, Garland Park and Vega Field. The completion date is 2015, later this year, and Heineman said they may be completed by late summer or fall.
Mayor Mark Holland said the futsal courts are a great opportunity for the community, to be open all the time, and good for the smaller number of players that often gather informally.
“I think this is an asset that we’re going to appreciate for years,” he said.
Commissioner Mike Kane asked Heineman about former discussion of a hotel as part of this development, and Heineman said there are no specific plans for where the hotel would go right now.
“Based on the U.S. Soccer agreement that we have in place, it should allow us over time to utilize multiple hotels,” he said. “At this point, until we finalize this agreement tonight, we haven’t done anything definitively with any developers on where that site location will go.”
Commissioner Jane Philbrook said originally a hotel was planned, in the early discussions, off 98th Street. Heineman said they are left with a lot of flexibility on where to put the hotel, but they would never put a hotel on the front side of the Speer site on State Avenue because of residential on the south side. There had been some community opposition to that. “We can guarantee that’s not where it will be,” he said.
There are other sites that might be ideal, some where they have a lease and some where they don’t, Heineman said.
Brajkovic described some revenue streams that will cover the bonds that will be issued to make improvements to parking for Sporting Park. Currently, there is a one-cent special assessment and $1 ticket tax. Now the ticket tax will increase to $2.25.
Indoor fields may be used by community organizations for a fee during available times, according to the agreement. Also, the UG’s Parks and Recreation Department may use those fields up to 20 percent of the available time at no cost, Brajkovic said.
He said there will be a radius restriction on U.S. Soccer not to have another training center facility within 500 miles.
Also, Brajkovic gave some return on investment figures for the UG. According to a bond underwriter, from $31 to $42 million of local sales tax dollars for up to 17 years would flow into the project to help pay for it. Using a feasibility study from July 2014, the project would produce $65 million in new local sales tax generated over 30 years, he said.