Alachua County will consider opting in on a public private partnership for a proposed $46 millon mixed-use regional indoor sports events center at Celebration Pointe in Gainesville.
The location was identified by the Victus Group on behalf of the County as a site for a sports facility to facilitate sports tourism, according to the proposal.
“The primary public benefit of the proposed project is the economic impact generated by outside tourism participating in sporting events hosted in the facility. The estimate previously prepared by Victus Group for the County is a recurring annual fiscal impact of $1.6 million to the County from tourism generated outside of the County. The secondary public benefit is the community amenity for local athletes with increased access to practice and recreational facilities,” the proposal states.
At the Nov. 10th BOCC meeting, commissioners agreed to direct staff to negotiate a term sheet for the financing, construction and operation of the sports center with the most responsive proposer and bring back the results of negotiations for the Board’s consideration.
According to the proposal, the County would own the land and improvements of the sports facility and be responsible for the funding of the improvements.
The 120,000 square foot facility would house an NCAA track and field, 13 basketball courts, 26 volleyball courts, 5,000 square feet of spring floor for dedicated cheer and gymnastics, a minimum 24-foot clear height over courts, athletic trainer and sports medicine areas, 8,500 square feet of fitness, speed, agility training area, a food and beverage area, meeting areas and office areas for synergistic groups in sports tourism.
Viking Companies and RADDSports have advanced the design of the Sports Park Property as a Class A institutional quality event facility and commensurate with qualified NCAA track facilities to create a sustainable sports tourism destination, the report states.
“The ability to host large indoor sports events year-round in a setting rich with retail, dining and lodging options will bring overflow room-nights to the area hotels and bring economic impact from visitors. During the midweek, the facility will primarily serve local residents of the community through youth and adult leagues as well as health and wellness programs,” the proposal states.
According to Deputy County Manager for Public Works and Growth Management James Harriott, studies to locate a spot for this type of sports venue started 5 years ago when the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at the University of Florida was under remodel and the use of the facility’s floorspace and athletic space for events was limited.
According to Harriott studies show the proposed facility could attract millions of participants and visitors if events hosted by the facility reached out to those people who would participate in events and are within a 5-hour drive of Gainesville.
Celebration Pointe submitted an unsolicited proposal for the sports facility and now, if the County agrees with the project, they would go through a reverse procurement process.
County Commissioner Ken Cornell was in favor of the project and said,” The community has been looking for something like this for a long time.”
The BOCC voted unanimously to direct staff to develop a term sheet and bring back results to board at a future meeting.