Corpus Christi Pediatrician Assembles $19 million Plan for Soccer Complex
Feature Illustration (above): A concept rendering of the proposed 5,000-seat soccer stadium for the semi-pro Corpus Christi FC Sharks club. Courtesy: Next Sports Co.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) — Pediatrician and soccer enthusiast Dr. Kingsley Okonkwo is awaiting City Council approval of an incentive agreement that would partially reimburse a $19,050,000 sports complex project.
Okonkwo is leading a the development team, Next Sports Company LLC (NSC), a company he formed to produce the Corpus Christi Sports Complex, a 43-acre compound that is mostly northwest of the Old Brownsville Road at Cliff Maus Drive intersection; a portion of the compound is southwest of Old Brownsville Road, but will be used only for overflow parking.
The Corpus Christi B Corporation took a vote on the incentive agreement at its Sept. 8 session. By majority, the board members agreed to a request to reimburse the company in two stages for $1,850,000, on the condition that the company show documentation of financial viability within 90 days.
The project has three phases, with the phases one and two including a 5,000-seat soccer stadium for a semi-professional team; eight soccer fields that could be converted for use in others sports such as lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, etc.; parking for 1,300 vehicles, administrative office space, 60,000 square feet of retail space, and a club house for the home team.
Dec. 2022: Complete administrative offices, retail and other support spaces.
It is the ambition of the company that phases three include a 150-guest room luxury hotel, a sports bar/restaurant and a 10-acre residential zone.
Dr. Kingsley Okonkwo, a principal in New Sports Company LLC and president of Corpus Christi FC.
Okonkwo intends to invest $17.2 million into Phase 1. If approved, the city’s contribution would be in the form of reimbursements for the cost of some infrastructure expenses. Depending on the completion of specified milestones, the city would project $1.2 million at the end of 2021 and another $650,000 by December 2022, the deadline for final completion of Phase 1.
When asked about the company’s ability to raise the $17.2 million, Okonkwo told the board members that vast majority was coming from him. Okonkwo told the board he owns three pediatric clinics, the newest of them having opened just four months earlier in a new 18,000-square-foot facility.
A fan and patron of soccer sports, Okonkwo has support youth soccer sports single-handed the past four years, he said. And in 2018, Okonkwo brought national soccer to town when he established the Corpus Christi FC Sharks with the Premier Development League (now known as the USL League Two).
The NSC project team hopes to complete the platting process for their site plan by December and begin construction on the eight soccer fields by January 2021. The booking of youth soccer tournaments would begin by June 2021.
The soccer fields, parking lots, administrative offices and restroom facilities are to be completed by December 2021.
With north pointing right, the site plan shows the stadium and other fields northwest of Old Brownsville Road and Cliff Maus Drive. An overflow parking lot is planned on the south side of Old Brownsville Road. Source: NSC LLC.
Having visited numerous multi-purpose sports complexes across the country as part of their feasibility research, NSC estimates the Corpus Christi complex could handle from 20 to 25 youth tournaments a year, draw about 25,000 visitor room nights to local hotels, and provide at least 47 full-time jobs.
Okonkwo estimated the complex will generate about $2.2 million in sales revenue, primarily through rentals by amateur clubs and associations.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.