More than three years after Jerald Good of Florida-based GoodSports Enterprises announced plans for a field house at K-96 and Greenwich, the city and master developer on the project are preparing to move on without him.
“Unfortunately, the city and master developer had to take the action of terminating GoodSports from the K-96 STAR bond project last night for failure to complete the tasks outlined to them in the development agreement,” says Korb Maxwell, the attorney for master developer Wichita Destination Developers.
“The master developer will now take up the process of completing the field house as was originally contemplated in the agreements.”
Anthony Homer, GoodSports vice president of development, says the situation is far from resolved.
“Obviously, the only place we’re going to get a voice is in court, so that’s the next step if we can’t reasonably work this out,” he says.
Maxwell says the company was given plenty of chances to work out issues related to whether it was ready to take on the project.
“We had innumerable conference calls, meetings, e-mails, trying to work with GoodSports to come to a way that they could continue to move forward,” he says.
“Unfortunately, they continue to have multiple items on the checklist … that were insufficient, the biggest of which is proof that they had adequate equity … to fully complete the project.”
Homer says that’s not the case.
“We’ve proved our funding up twice now,” he says. Homer says GoodSports offered the city and master developer the chance “to even select the escrow agent of their choice in order to make them feel more comfortable.”
“They continue to not tell us … why we haven’t reasonably satisfied them,” Homer says. “They keep moving the goal posts. They say, ‘Oh, you didn’t deliver this item.’ Well, we delivered it. You wanted changes … and in the meantime, they say, ‘Oh, you haven’t provided it.’”
Homer says the developers and city officials appear to be talking to each other “and yet not talking to us and explaining why these things are unsatisfactory to them.”
GoodSports and Wichita Destination Developers have been working to build a 65,000-square-foot multisport athletic facility, which will target regional and national tournaments, and an adjacent 120-room hotel for young athletes and their families.
The master developer is responsible for infrastructure improvements, which Maxwell says have been made.
The city is responsible for a new interchange for K-96, which is complete.
GoodSports was supposed to receive a portion of the $122 million sales tax and revenue bonds that are going to improve the area, including the K-96 interchange.
The company had a deadline of Jan. 1 to begin construction. It received a couple of extensions. Then, in late February, the city and master developer began a default process against GoodSports. At the time, Maxwell described it as a legal hurdle GoodSports had to clear in order to do the project.
“We worked through all of the extensions that we could possibly do,” says City Council member Pete Meitzner.
Good previously said that Wichita was going to be the start of a chain of GoodSports around the country.
“It’s too bad,” Meitzner says. “The original vision was quite grand that we were going to be a part of.”
Homer says the city and master developer have surprised GoodSports with some of their requests.
“There’s some things they’re asking for that just aren’t customary,” he says.
For instance, Homer says the city and master developer are demanding payment and performance bonds now.
“It’s customary to do that at the closing, when the property transfers, when everything begins.”
Maxwell says the master developer now will move forward with the same design and plans for the field house, but it will no longer have the GoodSports name.
Wichita Destination Developers includes four Wichitans – brothers Tom and Mike Boyd, Christian Ablah and Dave Murfin – and Kansas City developer Rick Worner.
“That’s the kind of comfort I have personally,” Metizner says. “There’s good local people with great history of success. I have confidence in them.”
Maxwell says construction could start yet this spring.
“Still, we have to get on it. We have to move quickly with contractors and other folks,” he says. “We will get it done as the master developer, though.”
Meitzner says the change is “just an adjustment.”
He says he likes that other development near that intersection – at Regency Lakes, the Village at Greenwich and Cross Pointe, among other areas – hasn’t been dependent on the field house project.
“This is like a new little city going on out here,” he says. “That’s the excitement of that whole corner.”
Homer says GoodSports still wants to be part of that excitement.
The company hasn’t responded to its termination notice yet, but he says it will.
“Basically, we’re responding with all of our status updates.”
Look for updates on that response when it happens.