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Athletics complex may spur business


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Five years after plans for a destination retail store in Greenwood fell through, a new proposal for the property will attract an even larger audience, keep visitors in the city longer and spur development, the city’s mayor said.

A Cabela’s store would have brought Greenwood shoppers, but the GoodSports Enterprises Global hotel and athletics complex will bring traveling sports teams and their friends and families, Mayor Mark Myers said.

Families who travel from hours away for basketball and volleyball tournaments will spend the night in hotels, eat at local restaurants, shop at Greenwood Park Mall and watch movies at area theaters, he said. They won’t simply shop and leave as they would have with Cabela’s, he said.

GoodSports, of Sarasota, Fla., announced this week that it would be spending $22 million to build an 85,000-square-foot field house and 124-room hotel at Graham and County Line roads. The 100-acre property has been empty after plans for a Cabela’s store and indoor water park fell through in 2009.

The land is zoned commercial and located near an Interstate 65 exit. As part of an incentive deal to benefit GoodSports, the city is spending $2 million in tax-increment financing district funding on roads, sewer and other infrastructure for the property. GoodSports plans to use 12 acres of land for their hotel and field house, but the work the city is planning will make two other lots also ready for development.

Myers wants to see stores, restaurants and hotels open near the GoodSports property. Greenwood particularly needs a hotel with conference space because the southside doesn’t have a conference center, he said.

“We want that area to build up with higher-end retail stores, restaurants and hotels,” he said.

Demand is high for indoor athletics venues, such as the six basketball courts and 12 volleyball courts GoodSports will be able to offer, due to the growing popularity of travel youth sports leagues, said Patrick Tamm, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Because GoodSports will be starting its own sports leagues, as well as attracting tournaments that have been hosted elsewhere, the new hotel shouldn’t damage business for other hotels in the area, he said. Tournaments would draw hundreds of athletes on the weekends alone, he said.

“That will spin off a lot of economic development activity that does not exist today. They’re really growing the market, not shrinking the market,” Tamm said.

Greenwood won’t be marketing the empty properties nearby the GoodSports site, Myers said.

“It’s not my place to do marketing,” Myers said. “But if I would get an inquiry, I would push them that direction.”

County Line 101 Partners currently owns all 100 acres. The city will hire its own contractors to do the infrastructure work and won’t start construction until GoodSports starts building the sports complex, Myers said.

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