SportsQuest grant request goes to supervisors

Chesterfield County’s Department of Economic Development wants the county’s board of supervisors to help a nascent sports complex with grants and $2 million lease for use of some of the facilities.

The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority is requesting that the Board of Supervisors approve on Wednesday a $2 million grant and a $2.3 million, 20-year lease for turf fields with SportsQuest, a mega sports project near the intersection of 288 and Powhite Parkway.

Steve Burton, SportsQuest’s founder and director, eventually wants to build a Mecca for mainstream and niche sports, including facilities such as a hockey rink, a bike track, a pool and running trails, as well as a venue for concerts. He also wants developers to piggyback on his project with hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial and retail space.

According to an official county agenda, the economic development department is requesting that the county sign a 20-year lease for nine artificial turf soccer fields, four indoor basketball courts and 10,000 square feet for a senior center in exchange for a single payment of $2.3 million. According to the agenda, the funds would be handed over when the lease is signed, presumably in 2010.

Chesterfield County officials did not return several calls placed throughout the day seeking comment. One spokesman returned a call from RBS but said that an official involved with the deal would not be available until Thursday.

Leaders of local youth soccer leagues said that they are excited about more turf fields but that they want to make sure that if public money is involved in a private enterprise, there is sufficient access during tournaments.

Rob Ukrop, president of the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, said turf fields will help his and other youth clubs run tournaments because the games can go on in rainy weather. But he said that until the details of the lease are fleshed out, he’s concerned that the clubs might not get full access.

“We currently pay Chesterfield County a user fee, and with a new lease, we think that should give us access to the turf fields without paying another fee,” he said.

Ukrop also said he would like to make sure the existing soccer clubs can schedule the tournaments they need. “We want the county to step in and protect the existing clubs that have had economic impact for years.”

According to the agenda, the deal would require that if the fields are not constructed by Dec. 31, “then SportsQuest must refund the rent and the lease will terminate. SportsQuest will provide a deed of trust on the 114 acre ‘East Campus’ when the fields are being built to secure its obligation to refund the rent until the fields are completed.”

Chesterfield land records show that SportsQuest LLC does not own the land on the East Campus. It is owned by Mark Sowers, an investor in SportsQuest.

The department is also recommending that the county grant $2 million to SportsQuest to assist in construction of the facility, and a second grant within 10 years that for the amount of increased real estate sales tax and real estate tax that would be generated during a five-year period. The county’s proposal estimates that the value of taxes paid and then refunded to SportsQuest could be between $10 and $12 million.

In order to get those grants, SportsQuest must invest at least $100 million for construction and create 500 full-time jobs. It’s unclear how SportsQuest would prove that it had met those benchmarks.

Steve Burton has previously said that the second phase of the project — the West Campus — relies mostly on bond financing, which he said would be completed in the second quarter of 2010. Bonds have not been sold.

The county is also seeking a deed of trust on the East Campus in exchange for the grants, which “shall remain in place as a first priority lien until SportsQuest has fully performed under the agreement.”

The county also wants to see other sources of funding, according to the agenda.

The East Campus, which is visible from Genito Road and sites adjacent to route 288, is being graded and prepared for artificial turf. SportsQuest is planning to host an adult soccer tournament on Labor Day. (You can read more about that in a Times-Dispatch story here.)

More reading:
Is Chesterfield sports facility a quixotic quest?

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send news tips to [email protected]

Chesterfield County’s Department of Economic Development wants the county’s board of supervisors to help a nascent sports complex with grants and $2 million lease for use of some of the facilities.

The Chesterfield Economic Development Authority is requesting that the Board of Supervisors approve on Wednesday a $2 million grant and a $2.3 million, 20-year lease for turf fields with SportsQuest, a mega sports project near the intersection of 288 and Powhite Parkway.

Steve Burton, SportsQuest’s founder and director, eventually wants to build a Mecca for mainstream and niche sports, including facilities such as a hockey rink, a bike track, a pool and running trails, as well as a venue for concerts. He also wants developers to piggyback on his project with hundreds of millions of dollars in commercial and retail space.

According to an official county agenda, the economic development department is requesting that the county sign a 20-year lease for nine artificial turf soccer fields, four indoor basketball courts and 10,000 square feet for a senior center in exchange for a single payment of $2.3 million. According to the agenda, the funds would be handed over when the lease is signed, presumably in 2010.

Chesterfield County officials did not return several calls placed throughout the day seeking comment. One spokesman returned a call from RBS but said that an official involved with the deal would not be available until Thursday.

Leaders of local youth soccer leagues said that they are excited about more turf fields but that they want to make sure that if public money is involved in a private enterprise, there is sufficient access during tournaments.

Rob Ukrop, president of the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club, said turf fields will help his and other youth clubs run tournaments because the games can go on in rainy weather. But he said that until the details of the lease are fleshed out, he’s concerned that the clubs might not get full access.

“We currently pay Chesterfield County a user fee, and with a new lease, we think that should give us access to the turf fields without paying another fee,” he said.

Ukrop also said he would like to make sure the existing soccer clubs can schedule the tournaments they need. “We want the county to step in and protect the existing clubs that have had economic impact for years.”

According to the agenda, the deal would require that if the fields are not constructed by Dec. 31, “then SportsQuest must refund the rent and the lease will terminate. SportsQuest will provide a deed of trust on the 114 acre ‘East Campus’ when the fields are being built to secure its obligation to refund the rent until the fields are completed.”

Chesterfield land records show that SportsQuest LLC does not own the land on the East Campus. It is owned by Mark Sowers, an investor in SportsQuest.

The department is also recommending that the county grant $2 million to SportsQuest to assist in construction of the facility, and a second grant within 10 years that for the amount of increased real estate sales tax and real estate tax that would be generated during a five-year period. The county’s proposal estimates that the value of taxes paid and then refunded to SportsQuest could be between $10 and $12 million.

In order to get those grants, SportsQuest must invest at least $100 million for construction and create 500 full-time jobs. It’s unclear how SportsQuest would prove that it had met those benchmarks.

Steve Burton has previously said that the second phase of the project — the West Campus — relies mostly on bond financing, which he said would be completed in the second quarter of 2010. Bonds have not been sold.

The county is also seeking a deed of trust on the East Campus in exchange for the grants, which “shall remain in place as a first priority lien until SportsQuest has fully performed under the agreement.”

The county also wants to see other sources of funding, according to the agenda.

The East Campus, which is visible from Genito Road and sites adjacent to route 288, is being graded and prepared for artificial turf. SportsQuest is planning to host an adult soccer tournament on Labor Day. (You can read more about that in a Times-Dispatch story here.)

More reading:
Is Chesterfield sports facility a quixotic quest?

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. Please send news tips to [email protected]

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.

FOR ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR MEMEBERSHIP PLEASE EMAIL [email protected]




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
james
james
12 years ago

Do I remember right that SportsQuest was hoping to draw Olympic-style training and possibly qualification events? They won’t get soccer trials with plastic fields. I think this is a great concept, and I hope the supervisors have the good sense to approve it. I just wish they’d lay grass fields and give kids proper soccer training. They will create no world-class footballers on plastic fields.

CK
CK
12 years ago

this seems fishy to me. wasn’t there an uproar in this town to build a new stadium for the squirrels with bond financing?

JPG
JPG
12 years ago

Free markets? Is Sports Quest a free market enterprise or not for profit?

Steve
Steve
12 years ago

I’d be shocked if this project comes to fruition. I just don’t see how it is feasible from a start up funding perspective and a long term membership. How many people outside of Midlothian are really going to join long term?

I wish the guy the best of luck but I’d invest my money somewhere else.