A potential multi-sports complex on Bloomington-Normal's west side could top $50 million in public-private investment.
In an interview for GLT's Sound Ideas, Katie Kim of the Kim Group, a developer working with landowner Dave Stark on a multi-use sports complex in Bloomington-Normal, said she continues to meet with stakeholders.
Kim said there would be several phases of the project. Phase One entails 16-26 soccer fields on a couple hundred acres, but the scope could include other items. Kim said questions like what can be programmed on it and what can sustain the operating budget come along with that.
Those questions, however, are yet to be answered. Kim said she has met with the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, BN Advantage, and the Hotel Motel Owners Association. She says she is still trying to finalize the shape of Phase One and potential other phases before becoming more transparent and approaching municipalities for that side of the deal.
With cost being a huge factor in the development of this complex, Kim was cautious in setting a price tag, but responded to a $50 million figure common in street-level buzz about the development.
"All phases, when we look at public sector involvement for Phase One, and looking at the different aspects for private investments to come into the deal, I would say that would be low. Once that ripple affect starts to take hold, I would say it would be more than $50 million," said Kim.
Kim mentioned several community benefits from such a project.
The popularity of soccer in the community suggests the complex would be in high demand, in addition to the Federal Aviation Administration demand that existing Prairie City Soccer League fields leave airport land.
Kim said, though, this sports complex would provide much more than just soccer teams. Up-and-coming sports like lacrosse, rugby, and cricket would all be encompassed in this complex. Lacrosse especially has spiked a huge interest in the community recently, she said, which would give that sport a quality field to play on and a chance to grow in Bloomington-Normal.
Along with the fields, there are other private sector opportunities that might be possible. Kim said it could include an ice rink as well, bundled with other complementary businesses and restaurants. Medical facilities such as a prompt care would be required on site if the facility is to attract regional tournaments.
When asked about the potential revenue stream for the complex and how the city and town would recoup taxpayer investment, Kim deferred a direct answer.
“It comes down to what’s the scope and ownership of the facility,” said Kim.
Kim said timing is critical because other areas such as Peoria and a site in Indiana are working toward their own facilities.
She projected a hoped for completion of phase one planning in June, and would like to present it to the public, council, and supporting entities. She said there are still countless meetings and discussions still to be had.
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