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GoodSports provides city with financiers’ names


GoodSports Enterprises hopes to build an amateur sports training and competition facility, illustrated above, next to Bojangles’ Coliseum.

GoodSports Enterprises, which is seeking taxpayer funds to help develop a sports complex near Bojangles’ Coliseum, has identified to city officials the source of the company’s financing for the proposed $76.7 million venture.

“We have a name,” said Todd DeLong, commercial redevelopment manager for the city of Charlotte.

DeLong declined to provide an appellation, saying secrecy was imperative for the involved parties in case the deal fell through.

GoodSports has not sent the city any written agreement between it and the financiers, DeLong said, nor has it provided final renderings of the proposed complex. The company, which in January said it had found debt and equity investors to back its $39.7 million share of the deal, is slated to update the City Council’s Economic Development and Global Competitiveness Committee on Feb. 19.

The full City Council on Jan. 20 delayed until April a public hearing on rezoning the land for the complex.

At last month’s committee meeting, GoodSports Vice President of Development Anthony Homer said the financing was “contingent on us getting the project and on final bids.” Homer described the financiers as “having $3.1 billion in loans now.” He declined to identify them to committee members.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes asked Homer for final site designs, to which he responded that GoodSports  would not provide them until 45 to 60 days after receiving the city’s approval to move along with the deal.

“We’d have to front the money,” for the plans, he said. He did promise, however, to bring current renderings to the next meeting.

Committee members have been reluctant to commit until financing is in place, and company officials said financiers balk at signing on until the city gives the project the go-ahead. Charlotte’s portion of the funding would include $25 million from the 2013 capital-improvement plan to redevelop the area along East Independence Boulevard and $12 million from the city’s hospitality tax.

Plans for the 20.3-acre complex feature a field house, a hotel and 1,800 parking spaces.

GoodSports had originally planned to break ground here last fall, but said for months it was having trouble securing backing. The city owns the east Charlotte property, just west of Briar Creek Road and home to Ovens Auditorium and the coliseum.  Both are operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which is also part of the negotiations and controls the hospitality tax proceeds.

GoodSports has said it wants to develop 25 sports complexes across the nation over the next several  years. So far, the company hasn’t built any.

The city staff plans to make recommendations on deal terms to the Charlotte City Council in early March.

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