San Marcos: City Buys 30 Acres; Plans Partnership to Build Sportsplex
Featured Illustration (above): A preliminary layout of the planned multi-use sportsplex in south San Marcos, as part of a larger yet-undeveloped tract off Centerpoint Road. Image: City of San Marcos
By Edmond Ortiz
San Marcos (Hays County)–City Council voted Nov. 6 to approve the purchase of 30 acres of land that a local developer plans to turn into a multi-use sportsplex with eight artificial turf baseball fields.
The city is using local hotel occupancy tax revenues to buy the property off Centerpoint Road just west of Interstate 35 from San Marcos-based Pursuant Ventures Development.
Pursuant Ventures will develop the sportsplex, of which the city will take ownership and then lease back to the developer and its special purpose entity, SM Baseball Investments, for maintenance and operations.
The total purchase price is $19.3 million, which includes the $2.6 million to buy the 30 acres and $16.7 million as the guaranteed maximum price of construction.
While local youth baseball and softball organizations would be able to use the championship fields for free, the complex would be able to lure regional and national baseball tournaments and special events to San Marcos.
Local officials said the ballfields the city currently owns are at capacity, but that the new venue would help San Marcos better compete in the increasingly lucrative industry of youth sports tourism.
“We get a free place for our local youth baseball citizens to play, we’ll get additional hotel/motel tourism that’ll help generate sales tax dollars and so forth within the community,” Assistant City Manager Steve Parker said at the Nov. 6 meeting.
Pursuant Ventures Development President Tyler Sibley addresses San Marcos City Council on Nov. 6. Image: City of San Marcos
According to an agreement with the city, the developer will spend $3 million to include a 30,000-square-foot indoor training building from D-Bat, a company that provides baseball and softball academies.
The training part will have several retractable training cages, a practice space, weight-training facilities, and a computer resource studio with individual study workrooms to provide after-school programs for local youths.
Pursuant Ventures will pay for maintenance, utilities and turf upkeep at the complex while the city will retain naming rights.
City Council reserves rights to sign off on the design and general contractor for the overall sportsplex and related public land improvements, such as new roads on the currently undeveloped tract.
Pursuant Ventures has spent years working with the city to arrive at a public-private partnership.
“Collectively, these two components of the sportsplex will attract national events ranging from baseball and softball to lacrosse, soccer, flag football and more,” Tyler Sibley, Pursuant Ventures president, wrote to the city in 2018.
The 30 acres are part of a larger 80-acre tract that the city and the developer have described as an ideal place for a hotel and conference center to complement the baseball complex in the future.
Before the council voted on the sale and purchase agreement, Mayor Jane Hughson had expressed some concerns about what happens with the sportsplex in the event the developer decides to part ways with the city.
“This is all wonderful and I appreciate that. I just want to make sure that we’re protected on our side,” she said.
In addition to parts of the agreement that were modified following an executive session, Parker and Sibley assured the council that the city would be well protected in the deal.
This field on Centerpoint Road west of Interstate 35 will become a youth sports venue with eight championship baseball and softball fields. Image: Google Streets
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.