The Wichita City Council is expected on Tuesday to formally issue $40 million in sales tax and revenue, or STAR, bonds for the GoodSports retail and sports development at K-96 and Greenwich Road.
The bonds will finance $29.75 million in project costs, with a $2 million water sports attraction deferred at the request of the bond purchaser, ORIX USA, an international financial services firm based in Dallas. According to city documents, ORIX officials want the water sports concept fully developed and an operator selected before they’ll agree to fund it.
The balance of the bonds will be used to finance issuance costs, capitalized construction interest and project reserves, according to city documents.
ORIX also will hold an option to buy any undeveloped land in the STAR bond district if the project fails in any way. As a result, the city’s right after five years to buy any undeveloped STAR bond tracts for $1 will be delayed by a year.
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The company website, www.orix.com, says the investment firm has approximately $6 billion in assets, $25 billion of assets managed for others and over 1,100 employees. It offers investment and credit products in addition to advisory services.
Construction could begin later this spring on the infrastructure — roads and utilities — at the site, with work on major parts of the project beginning in late winter or early spring, developers said earlier this year.
The project will be anchored by GoodSports Fieldhouse, a 65,000-square-foot multisport athletic facility targeting regional and national tournaments. Developers say 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 fieldhouse is projected to draw 300,000 visitors a year.
Adjacent to the fieldhouse will be a 150-room hotel. Its target market is the stream of summer basketball tournaments sponsored by groups like Mid-America Youth Basketball and the Amateur Athletic Union, events that draw players, coaches, parents and families from across the region.
STAR bonds, or sales tax and revenue bonds, use sales tax revenue generated by a development to pay off bonds that finance major commercial entertainment and tourism areas.
On Aug. 6, the council approved a special sales tax to patch together financing for improvements to the Greenwich interchange on K-96, the key turn-off serving the GoodSports complex along with stores such as Cabela’s and Target.
The project’s first phase includes the $9.5 million completion of the K-96 interchange. The original plans earmarked $7.5 million of the STAR bond revenue and $2 million from the city’s 10-year capital improvements program. That deal had to be reworked after the state approved only $3.8 million for the interchange.
The new interchange financing plan includes the state STAR bond money, $2.5 million from the city’s capital improvements fund, $2.2 million from the special sales tax to be generated by a community improvement district and $1 million from a similar district already established for Cabela’s.