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Sports complex near Greenwich City Council to take final public comment on sports complex at K-96 and Greenwich

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, at 10:13 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, at 9:28 a.m.

The public will get one final opportunity Tuesday to weigh in on a proposed $429 million destination sports and entertainment development at K-96 and Greenwich.

The Wichita City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday before voting on the GoodSports STAR bond project plan for the first phase of a sports-oriented development that proponents say will bring more than 1.9 million visitors annually to Wichita, including 500,000 from out of state. The estimated retail sales impact of the first phase of the GoodSports project is $83.6 million in its first year.

The $130 million first phase of the project is anchored by GoodSports Fieldhouse, a 65,000-square-foot multi-sport athletic facility targeting regional and national tournaments. It will include 12 full-size basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts, and can house team sports competitions for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, wrestling and cheerleading. The field house is projected to draw 300,000 visitors a year.

Adjacent to the field house will be a 150-room hotel targeting young athletes and their families.

Those are all part of a planned 423-acre sports, retail, entertainment, medical and office development.

Council member Pete Meitzner, who represents northeast Wichita, said the GoodSports proposal would put Wichita into a lucrative game – the business of amateur sports tournaments.

“For us to have the same kind of destination sports and entertainment complex that has taken off so successfully in Kansas City (where GoodSports also operates) means a lot to Wichita,” Meitzner said. “It’s absolutely going to be a major draw to Wichita.”

A two-thirds vote – four of the six current council members, with the District 4 seat vacant – is required to approve the project plan and send it to the Kansas Department of Commerce. If the state OKs the plan, construction should begin this summer, GoodSports officials said.

The centerpiece of the funding behind the project is the state’s STAR bond law, which allows the state’s sales tax on purchases to be captured for certain development costs in a district. The funds can be used for “horizontal” expenses, including land acquisition and public and private infrastructure.

Last month, GoodSports attorney Korb Maxwell said the $130 million first phase will likely use about $30 million in STAR bond funding for infrastructure, site acquisition and preparation. The remaining $100 million is private debt and equity, he said.

Reach Bill Wilson at 316-268-6290 or bwilson@wichitaeagle.com.

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