SPORTING KC

Project developers asked the Unified Government Commission for some flexibility in the U.S. Soccer training center project planned on vacant land near Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kan.

Mentioned tonight by developers was the possibility of adding Olympic training to the mix of uses.

The $62 million development includes a 100,000-square-foot U.S. Soccer national training center at a $26 million cost, futsal courts, and tournament fields at a $17.5 million cost, and $10 million for land acquisition, according to UG documents. An extended-stay hotel and restaurant sites were part of the proposal. The concept of the expanded STAR bond Vacation Village district was approved last month.

At the Unified Government Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting Monday night, officials with the project said they would like to have the flexibility to trade the location of some of the project, for example, potentially the youth field areas with some of the items in the training center area.

The two areas that are being considered for trading are one 35-acre site that is located on Parallel Parkway on the north side of the property, and another area of 125 acres located on the south and east of 94th and State Avenue on the former Speer farm property.

Chase Simmons with the Polsinelli law firm, representing the developer, said some of the details of the agreement are still in negotiation. He said that originally the U.S. Soccer building and its fields would go to the north side on Schlitterbahn property, and the youth fields to the east on the Speer property.

“There have now been a lot of ideas thrown about,” Simmons said. This included everything from putting the entire development on the Speer property, to mixing and matching the various parts of the development on the two pieces of land.

Robb Heineman, CEO of OnGoal, the parent of Sporting Kansas City, said the goal was to build the preeminent sports training complex in the nation anchored by U.S. Soccer. He also said the Schlitterbahn owners have been very helpful with the project.

“As we continue to look at site design,” Heineman said, “and in talking to other groups in addition to not only U.S. Soccer, but other Olympic-type opportunities, we just want to have flexibility with how we develop the site.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity for us to get a lot of the Olympic training assets that are located today in Chula Vista, Calif., which is looking for a new home, to relocate to the site,” Heineman said. “That’s something that I would like to have the opportunity to provide to them, if we had the appropriate kind of indoor facilities, which will be contained already in the original building that we are building, and also had some additional land to potentially build them fields or other space that may be attractive to them.”

What they will all bring, he said, is economic development, whether it is room nights or conferences.

“As U.S. Soccer has gotten more invested in this whole site design, they have begun to bring us bigger investment opportunity ideas for their long-term growth plans,” Heineman said. “I want to make sure I’ve got land to accommodate that.”

All of the project would have to come back to the planning and zoning meetings for approval, and according to the developers, they wanted to hear now if there were any commission objections to flexibility in the project plans.

Simmons said he believed there was enough land in this project for the proposed uses, although there were some environmental issues and some deed restrictions.

If the U.S. Soccer building does not end up on the Schlitterbahn property on Parallel, then Schlitterbahn does not have to fulfill the obligation to build the extended-stay hotel or restaurants, project officials said. The hotel location is conditional upon the training facility being there.
UG Administrator Doug Bach said in that case, the negotiators would have to continue to work on fulfilling it at the other site, or have some further discussion with Schlitterbahn so it could be built in another way.

Bach said the proposal involving U.S. Soccer was built on the assumption that there would not be any property taxes on the soccer training facility. The hotel portion, if moved to the other site, would pay property taxes.

Only incremental, new revenues from sales taxes at Village West would go toward this project, according to the proposed development agreement. For example, the proposed agreement stated, if existing sales tax revenues at Village West in the last year of the existing STAR bonds were $40 million, and in the following year sales taxes generated at Village West were $42 million, only the new $2 million of sales taxes could be used to pay the national training center bonds, while the other $40 million in sales taxes would go to the UG, the state and other taxing jurisdictions.

While the tax portion from the training center project would be fairly small, the economic impact to the surrounding area is expected to be large in increasing sales taxes and contributing to the success of the surrounding area, according to Simmons.

Bach said initial projections are that there is a potential that the income generated by this project will be more than its overall costs, through the years.

Commissioner Gayle Townsend said her only concern about flexibility is that the UG not lose some other opportunity, or that the cost increases for the project. She also referred to the potential loss of the hotel if the site is moved.

UG commissioners attending the meeting Monday did not voice any strong objections to the flexibility request, and UG officials said they and other commissioners could contact UG administrators if they have any questions or concerns during the next several days. The commissioners participating in the committee discussion tonight were not from the western Wyandotte County districts.

The proposed development agreement currently calls for the placement of eight futsal courts throughout Wyandotte County, including: four futsal courts built over existing tennis courts at Bethany Park, Highland Park, Welborn Park and Westheight Park, with the developer paying for construction; four new futsal courts, ground-up construction at Edwardsville Park, Harmon High School, Garland Park and Vega Field, with the UG providing the asphalt base and the developer paying for the rest; four new futsal courts built in connection with the National Training and Coaching Center on Schlitterbahn property, with the developer responsible for the costs. The developer will continue maintaining the two existing futsal courts at Wyandotte High School.

The proposed agreement also calls for the developer to build 12 tournament fields, but they will not be at Wyandotte County Park as originally planned. They are expected to be on parts of this Vacation Village STAR district. Eight of the 12 fields would be for daily use and tournaments, and four of the 12 fields would be dual use for tournaments and U.S. Soccer training .

Original plans were for eight fields to be on the Speer property, while four would be next to the U.S. Soccer training facility. The moving of these fields is part of the current discussion.

The development agreement is expected to come before the full UG Commission at a date in October, according to UG officials. The proposed agreement states that OnGoal has a target date of May 1, 2016, for completion of the U.S. Soccer training complex.

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Sporting Kansas City lost 3-2 to the New England Revolution at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Friday.

Dom Dwyer extended his single-season club record with his 20th goal of the season, while Paulo Nagamura added a goal and an assist in the defeat.

The visiting Revolution opened a 2-0 lead in the first half with goals from Kelyn Rowe and Jose Goncalves before Sporting KC struck twice in two minutes to pull level in the 56th minute. However, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Jermaine Jones struck for the game-winning goal in the 85th minute with his first MLS goal since being acquired by New England in August.

Sporting KC has now suffered three consecutive home MLS losses for only the second time in club history, conceding three goals in each. The Revolution won in Kansas City for the first time since 2008 and swept the season series for only the second time in 19 years.

The reigning MLS Cup champions, who ended the Revolution’s season in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the previous meeting at Sporting Park, began the match on the front foot. Dwyer’s free kick from 30 yards out curled just wide of the far post in the fourth minute. Nine minutes later, Benny Feilhaber saw Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth off his line and let loose a dipping effort that carried narrowly over the crossbar from well outside the penalty area.

Nevertheless, it was the Revolution who found the back of the net first. Alston began the play with a throw-in on the right flank and received the ball back from Teal Bunbury before sending a cross to the back post that found Rowe for a first-time finish with his left foot. The third-year forward now has four goals on the season and 15 in his MLS career (including postseason), while Alston has multiple assists for the first time in his six seasons with New England.

New England’s lead doubled in the 35th minute on an individual effort from Goncalves. The reigning MLS Defender of the Year won the ball in his own end and dribbled 60 yards prior to placing a left-footed shot from 20 yards out inside the far post for his first goal of the season.

Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg made two saves on the night in his first MLS match since July 6. The first came in the 40th minute to stop Chris Tierney’s free kick from the middle of the park and the second save was recorded in the 70th minute to deny Lee Nguyen from long range.

Trailing by two goals to start the second half and playing without both Aurelien Collin (injury) and Lawrence Olum (suspension), Sporting Kansas City rallied to draw level by putting a pair of shots past Shuttleworth in short succession. Nagamura started the comeback with a composed strike in the 54th minute after receiving a penetrating pass from Kevin Ellis that split both Revolution defenders on the right flank. Nagamura took one touch and lifted his shot over Shuttleworth for the 12th goal of his MLS career and second of the season.

Less than two minutes later, Nagamura proved pivotal again on the game-tying goal. The Brazilian looped his header toward the back post on a service from Antonio Dovale, setting up Dwyer to push the ball across the goalline with a header inside the goalmouth. Dwyer now has 20 goals in 2014, second most in Major League Soccer behind Bradley Wright-Phillips (24).

With the momentum and a sellout crowd of more than 19,500 fans in attendance, Sporting Kansas City saw a spree of scoring opportunities come up short in the ensuing minutes. Graham Zusi’s well-struck shot was spilled by Shuttleworth in the 63rd minute only to see Dwyer ruled offside in the scramble for the rebound.

Nagamura nearly netted his second of the match with a volley four minutes later that was punched away to safety by Shuttleworth. The sixth-year goalkeeper was called into action less than a minute later for his fourth save of the match as Igor Juliao put a first-time shot through traffic and on target.

The Revolution did well to weather the burst and then claimed all three points with Jones’ game-winner coming five minutes from full time. Given space, the World Cup veteran delivered the dagger from distance on a shot from 25 yards out that was beyond the reach of Kronberg.

Sporting Kansas City and New England are now tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining in the regular season. Sporting KC will return to the road to take on D.C. United, who currently lead the East by three points, next Friday at RFK Stadium.

The match will be nationally televised on NBCSN.
- Story from Sporting KC

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On Oct. 1, President Obama will welcome Sporting Kansas City to the White House to honor the team and its victory in the 2013 MLS Cup Championship.

This visit will continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities.

The event will take place at about 1:35 p.m.

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