Construction has not begun on planned sports complex in Edmond
EDMOND — An agreement to build a 155,000-square-foot sports complex in northeast Edmond has been on the table for more than five years while developers seek financial support and organize their partners.
The construction start date for The Summit Sports Complex, just east of the intersection of Covell Road and Interstate 35, remains a mystery.
But those involved in the public and private partnership think the sports complex, with eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and two indoor soccer fields, will definitely operate on the northeast corner of the busy intersection.
In November 2012, city officials signed agreements with developers of the sports complex and purchased 19.35 acres of land for $2 million.
The sports complex developers are to pay $60,000 a year rent on the land.
Summit Sports Partners on April 17 gave the city two checks totaling $45,000 for back rent. The partners were past due for the months of June 2016 through April, said City Attorney Steve Murdock.
The partners said the payment of the past due rent indicates the sports complex will go forward.
"We believe the facility will get done," said Brad Lund, Summit Sports Partners managing partner. "We hope to have good news soon."
"Paying the back rent is a good indicator that the partners want to move forward," said Todd McKinnis, attorney for the developers.
Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said the city intends to schedule a meeting within the next month with those involved in the project and come up with a timetable.
"We are more hopeful now than we were a year ago," Commons said. "This shows they are still trying to make it."
Banking laws changes since the agreement was signed on Nov. 7, 2012, make it harder to borrow money for public and private partnerships.
The construction of the hotel/conference center was delayed about four years because of similar financial hurdles. Now, construction is well underway and expected to be completed in September or October.
City officials agreed five years ago to invest $12 million in a hotel and conference center and sports center as a way to increase economic development and sales tax revenue.
Negotiations with the developers, Covell-35 Development LLC, Covell Partners in Development LLC and Summit Sports Complex, took more than a year before the agreement was signed.
The city bought 7.1 acres of land on the northwest corner of I-35 and Covell for a site for the conference center for $2.2 million and spent another $3 million on infrastructure improvements.
Public money funded $4.8 million on the construction of the conference center, where the city's tourism and visitors bureau will be housed.
The plan is for the developer to operate the hotel and conference center and collect the hotel-motel tax. The city will refund up to $173,720 of that tax in the first year to a maximum of $256,350 in years 10 and 15 for a monthly management fee for the operation of the conference center.
Any motel tax collected over the management fee remains with the city.
Ad valorum taxes on the hotel and conference center property will start after 10 years, a commitment to the schools from the city and developers. After 15 years, city leaders expect to get back $9 million of the original investment.
People are already reserving dates at the conference center, which will have 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a ballroom that is about 10,000 square feet with banquet seating for 800 people.
Developers say the $23 million indoor sports complex will make Edmond and the metro a high-profile venue for youth sports.
During the delay, Lund said, they continue to seek formal financing and have restructured the private partnership, dividing the group into two sections — real estate and day-to-day operations.
Partners want to move forward because they already have $2 million invested in the project, Lund said.
"The scale, size and purpose of the project has not changed," McKinnis said. "Now, they are talking to additional partners. It is really difficult to get large-scale projects done."
Other construction and development on three sides of Covell Road and I-35 are finally taking off.
The next big project will be the $23 million Showbiz, a family entertainment center, to be located just east of the new hotel and conference center on 11.04 acres. Owners want to be open by Valentine's Day. They were in Edmond last week getting organized for the start of construction.
Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director, said the groundbreaking could be within 30 to 45 days for the center with a 12-screen theater, 18 bowling lanes, an arcade, restaurants and upscale bar.