DALLAS — The Wichita, Kan. City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to issue $40 million in sales tax and revenue (STAR) bonds for a development that will include retail, athletic facilities and lodging.
The project will include a GoodSports sporting goods store, a 65,000-square-foot multisport athletic facility and a 150-room hotel. Work on the project is expected to begin in 60 to 90 days, officials said.
The fieldhouse will feature 12 full-size basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts and can host team sports competitions for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, wrestling and cheerleading, promoters said. The fieldhouse is projected to draw 300,000 visitors a year.
Promoters said the facility will attract summer basketball tournaments sponsored by groups like Mid-America Youth Basketball and the Amateur Athletic Union.
The bonds will be sold to Orix USA, a Dallas-based financial services firm with 20-year maturities and a seven-year call provision.
The bonds will cover $29.75 million in project costs and the cost of financing and reserves. A $2 million water sports attraction that had been planned was shelved at the request of Orix. The investment bankers want the water sports concept fully developed and an operator selected before they'll agree to fund it, according to city staff.
Under terms of the deal, Orix will hold an option to buy any undeveloped land in the STAR bond district if the project fails.
STAR bonds are a tax-increment financing system that applies the 6.3% state sales tax to debt service.
Kansas regulations limit STAR bond financing to major developments designed to attract tourists and visitors. At least 20% of the projected visitors must be from outside the state and 30% must travel beyond 100 miles. The development must generate $50 million of annual revenue, and project sponsors have to provide at least $50 million of private financing.
While STAR bond proceeds are designed to cover land acquisition and infrastructure, a provision specifically allows their use to finance construction of a major multi-sport athletic complex.
Developer GoodSports Enterprises Global LLC is part of the Focus group of companies — a development, construction and management company specializing in hotels, water parks, and sports recreation facilities. Focus companies have built and operated 54 hotels, resorts and entertainment properties over the past 40 years, the company says.