An unsolicited proposal by a developer who wanted to collaborate with the county to construct a multi-purpose sports center at Celebration Pointe will become a reality in 2023.
The 120,000 square foot facility will house an NCAA track and field, 13 basketball courts, 26 volleyball courts, 5,000 square feet of spring floor for dedicated cheer and gymnastics activities, athletic trainer and sports medicine areas, 8,500 square feet of fitness, speed and agility training areas, concessions area, meeting areas and office areas for synergistic groups in sports tourism.
“The community has been looking for something like this for a long time,” Ken Cornell, chair of the Alachua Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), said after the initial project presentation in November 2020.
On Tuesday, the entire BOCC agreed and unanimously adopted a resolution to approve the sports center agreement, a $30 million inter-fund loan from the Alachua County general fund, an operation and maintenance agreement, and approved a budget amendment to establish a project fund.
The development agreement between Alachua County and developer Viking Companies, LLC states that the developer, "is willing and able to undertake final development and construction of the Sports Center within the development budget, in exchange for the County's contribution of $30,098,000."
Gov. Ron DeSantis also approved through the Florida 2021 General Appropriations Act an allocation of $2,320,000 to development called the North Central Florida Regional Sport Complex. The county calls it the Alachua County Sports Events Center.
SDPS Real Estate Investments donated the property for the sports complex to Alachua County.
“This is an exciting opportunity and we’re happy to be a part of it,” said Tommy Crosby, assistant county manager for budget and fiscal services, who has been managing the project.
According to Crosby, a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 17 and by Jan. 1, 2023, sporting events will be hosted at the site.