League City: Sportsplex Design Begins in Advance of Epicenter Agreement
Feature Photo (above): The ball fields of the 53-acre Charles L. Davis Sportsplex may soon be retired to make way for the Epicenter League City mixed-use development. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
League City (Galveston County) — The general public will be invited to participate soon at a hearing to provide comment on city plans on the design of a new sportsplex that will takes the place of an existing city-operated sports facility, which is being retired to make way for a mixed-use, public-private partnership project.
UPDATE: The city had scheduled the hearing to be tonight, Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center before the 4B Corporation Board, however, the public hearing was cancelled and will be rescheduled.
The city of League City announced Sept. 3 its intention to move forward with the design and construction of a new sportsplex on the west side of town to replace the Charles L. Davis Sportsplex. Last October 2018, the city entered into a pre-development agreement with Epicenter League City LLC.
Concept master plan for Epicenter in League City. Courtesy: Western Spherical Developers.
Epicenter League City is a special purpose entity created by Western Spherical Developers. At the time of the agreement, city officials anticipated the two parties would be able to act on a final agreement by January of this year. Media reports stated the developer as to begin construction on the new sports facilities “as early as February.”
However, the complexity of Western Spherical’s concept has delayed the signing of a final agreement and city officials have been getting impatient.
In addition to drawing the Davis Sportsplex into its master plan, Western Spherical has plans for several adjacent tracts of land to the south, east and north of the existing Davis Sportsplex. The mixed use master plan, an estimated $450 million project, includes a convention center and entertainment complex, a live/work village, several retail centers, up to four hotels, two office complexes, open space, parking structures, an outdoor entertainment amenity with a large water feature, surface parking throughout, and numerous detention ponds.
Western Spherical Developers want to acquire Charles L. Davis Sportsplex and several tracts of undeveloped land (highlighted in drab green) for the Epicenter project. Image: Google Earth.
As part of the agreement, the developer is to pay to cost of a new and expanded sportsplex. The Davis Sportsplex is 53 acres and the proposed sportsplex will be 106 acres.
“As a growing community, today there is more demand than there are available fields and we find ourselves in a position that we need to plan and design the Bay Colony Sports Complex to put us in a position to build between four and eight additional fields in the next two to three years,” said City Manager John Baumgartner.
Bay Colony Sports Complex, as the new facility is being called, is located southwest of the intersection of Calder Drive and Ervin Street.
Concept for the new Bay Colony Sports Complex. Courtesy: City of League City.
“If the Epicenter project, or a similar project, evolves and includes the existing sportsplex property, we will be in a position to ask them to pay our development costs as part of any potential land transaction. If the project does not come to fruition (no agreement is reached/there is no land exchange/there is no convention center) our community will be in a great position to move forward with the construction of additional athletic fields needed for the children of our community.”
The City’s 4B Corporation Board–which determines how 4B dollars generated from the city’s local sales tax are allocated–set aside $1.5 million to begin the planning and design work for the Bay Colony Sports Complex in FY 2020.
The 4B Corporation Board also budgeted up to $6.8 million for construction of four Little League fields, parking, and a maintenance facility in FY 2021. The city also plans to apply for a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assist in the development of this facility.
A preliminary estimate for the new sportsplex had the total cost at about $35 million.
“As the proposed Epicenter project continues to evolve, we are optimistic that a private-public partnership can be developed that will fund the new west side sportsplex,” said David Hoover, League City Executive Director of Development Services. “The City is moving forward on this project now because there is an immediate need for more ball fields in League City and we want to get ahead in the design and development process.”
Before any 4B funds can be allocated or spent to design and develop the new sportsplex, a public hearing must be conducted by the 4B Corporation.
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.