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Village Vision News

New sports complex plan pitched to board

Thursday, October 29, 2015

David Thorman and John Signorino, both of Game On Sports Development, a firm with offices in Kansas City and St. Louis, paid a visit to the Oct. 19 board meeting. Thorman made a presentation about his company’s desire to build a multi-sport regional sports village in Forsyth with approximately eight fields built over roughly 50 acres.

Current projects under development by the company include a location in Belleville and one near Kansas City in Lee’s Summit. The firm’s oldest and biggest development is in Overland Park, Kansas, which is four years old. Thorman said that facility booked 28,000 hotel room nights its first year and has increased that number by about 4,000 per year each subsequent year. The Belleville development is roughly a $12 million project.

“Most of this is paid for by out-of-town visitors who come and stay,” Thorman said.

The proposal describes the project as a tournament-destination complex that Game On would develop for the purpose of leasing long-term over a 20- to 30-year period to Global Sports Inc, a facility operator. Thorman called the deal a public and private investment that would financially benefit all parties.

“We have developed our expertise over the last 15 years,” Thorman said. “We know where they (complexes) should go and why they fail.”

He said the project also includes sand volleyball courts, a tavern, retail space and a hotel on site. Thorman said the complex would draw from Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago for weekend events leaving a world-class facility to be enjoyed Monday through Thursday by local residents.

On the table now is whether to take the first step in determining if this is a project the village wants to pursue. For a $20,000 consulting fee paid to Thorman’s group, a 90-day evaluation study would be undertaken that would deliver proposed sites for the project, a business plan, a pro forma detailing the financial structure of the complex, concept drawings, design build construction costs, tenants and users, among other deliverables. Thorman said as consultants his firm would work with village staff to develop the plan along village guidelines, all with the purpose of leading to a final proposal and pre-development agreement.

Three of five local hotels have verbally agreed to pay half the expense ($10,000) of the consulting fee, according to representatives of Tharaldson Hospitality Management, owners of the new Residence Inn, who were in attendance.

Thorman said he would not propose a project built near residential areas, and he predicted an economic impact over a 25-year period in the $600 million-$700 million range.

Trustees plan to discuss the project further before making a decision about proceeding with the first step of pursuing the evaluation study.

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