Chesterfield County officially hands over $4.3 million to SportsQuest, the proposed $250 million sports complex off Powhite Parkway, in a lease agreement. The deal, according to county leaders, has the potential to generate millions in local tax revenue and create hundreds of jobs.
Of course, the economic development will come later. Neither the county nor SportsQuest has produced details outlining the larger development. The county issued a press release trumping the deal Wednesday:
July 14, 2010
New Revenues, New Jobs, New Opportunities in Sports Tourism To Stem From SportsQuest Agreement
Chesterfield County, VA—Chesterfield County Public Schools, Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services and other vital public needs can expect a boost over the next 20 years from an agreement announced by Chesterfield County, Shaw Industries and SportsQuest, LLC, to advance the first phase of a planned $250 million sports-facility project for the region.
“This is an exciting day for the region and the commonwealth, and a great day for the citizens and taxpayers of Chesterfield County,” said Dan Gecker, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He noted that the huge private investment in the nation's newest amateur sports-tourism mega-facility has the potential to draw hotel, restaurant and other business development, add more than $6 million annually in local tax revenue, and create hundreds of jobs when completed.
“This is a great sports-tourism project that will increase local tax dollars that directly benefit our school budget. Furthermore, it is a wonderful opportunity to grow sports for the citizens of Chesterfield, the region and the commonwealth and enhance our reputation as a fit, healthy and active community.” added Bermuda District Supervisor Dorothy Jaeckle, an early supporter of the project.
“Chesterfield County is already a three-time winner of the “100 Best Communities in America for Young People” award from America's Promise—the Alliance for Youth, and this project demonstrates the county's continuing commitment to young people, but also offers a 10,000-square-foot center for our senior population; a variety of entertainment, sports and fitness facilities for all ages; and tremendous potential for direct and spin-off revenues for the county and the region,” said Economic Development Director Will Davis.
The project will be a further expansion of Chesterfield County's other sports successes, including its FIRST TEE golf course; hosting the PONY-Bronco World Series; and partnership with the SportsBackers organization, and comes on the heels of other recent economic development successes, including new and expanded international food-manufacturing companies, and the recently announced partnership to build the Meadowville interchange on I-295 in the county.
The SportsQuest plan is to construct a family entertainment and Olympic training complex on 250 acres located at the intersection of Route 288 and the Powhite Parkway in the county.
The project, which will bring the entire Metro Richmond and Tri-Cities regions significant revenues from sports, will include a hotel; office and retail development; and include, among other facilities, an amphitheater; aquatics center; ice-plex; velodrome indoor biking facility, inline track; a high-performance training facility for 30 different sports, and a field house for indoor court sports. Phase One includes 17 rectangular athletic fields using the latest synthetic turf technology.
“The agreement allows county residents to have access to state-of-the-art facilities much sooner than otherwise would be possible and at a fraction of the cost of building them using tax dollars,” said Chesterfield County Administrator Jay Stegmaier. He added that the county's financial investment will be doubly-protected by an agreement with Shaw
Industries, a Berkshire Hathaway company, and by a deed of trust on the “East Campus.”
Stegmaier also noted that, combining construction and operation, it would be one of the largest job-creation initiatives in the entire state in recent memory.
Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Golden added that the project will relieve pressure on existing fields, and expands growth of amateur sports venues, including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, football and others while creating the largest synthetic-field complex for amateur sports anywhere. He noted that the agreement will make all 17 fields available to the county for one weekend per year for 20 years, in addition to the Monday-Thursday schedule originally included in preliminary discussions.
The announcement generated regional excitement. “What a great example of an innovative and aggressive business initiative that will benefit the entire greater Richmond region. We will be a destination for sports tourism from around the country,” said Kim Scheeler, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.