A Kansas City-based company plans to build an 11-field soccer complex on land next to the planned Hofbrauhaus and hotel development on Illinois 15 across from the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.
David Thorman, the developer representing Global Sports International, said on Monday soccer tournaments would attract players from throughout the Midwest and provide an economic boost to Belleville. He values the project at $12 million to $13 million and said the complex was originally planned to be built in Chesterfield, Mo.
Nine of the fields will have artificial turf so the tournaments will be staged even when there are heavy rainstorms, Thorman said.
He declined to comment on any incentives the city of Belleville has offered Global Sports International.
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Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said the city is considering incentives for Global Sports International but he declined to release details of the negotiations. Eckert said aldermen have been briefed on the project but they have not yet voted on a development agreement.
“This is not a done deal,” Eckert said. “There’s still a few things to finalize but we are very close to having things worked out.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity because what this potentially does is bring many, many people to this complex.”
Along with soccer tournaments, the complex is expected to host tournaments for lacrosse, sand volleyball and rugby.
A clubhouse with a Johnny’s Tavern restaurant is planned to be built next to the sports fields, Thorman said. Johnny’s Tavern has nine locations in the Kansas City region.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the sports complex and the Hofbrauhaus development will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, said Thorman.
The restaurant and hotel complex is valued at $50 million to $60 million. In May, the City Council gave final approval to tax incentives for this project planned by Chuck Keller, his son Chane Keller of Effingham and Forrest Langenfeld of Centralia. The three primary incentives totaled $15.69 million.
The Kellers have a franchise agreement with Hofbrauhaus that does not allow another Hofbrauhaus in the St. Louis region.
Global Sports International, also known as GSI, has a sports complex in Overland Park, Kan., that attracted over 1 million visitors last year, with 38 percent of the visitors coming from outside the region.
Thorman said these visitors booked 46,000 to 48,000 hotel rooms last year.
Thorman said the proposed site in Chesterfield does not have sewer service but the sports complex in Belleville would be able to use sewer lines being extended to accommodate the Hofbrauhaus development.
“We can’t build the one in Chesterfield without the infrastructure support so unless we have that in some fashion either from (St. Louis County) or some other way, it will be difficult to get that done.”
“Our primary focus right now is the Belleville project because we’re moving forward fairly quickly and the Belleville site is a great site,” Thorman said.
The city of Belleville, which previously agreed to spend over $2 million to extend sewer lines to the Hofbrauhaus site, could receive up to $500,000 in annual sales tax revenue from businesses in the complex.
Thorman said having hotels on the site of the sports complex would make the Belleville location “very, very unique” compared to other sports complexes across the country. Players and their families will be able to walk to their games.
“So in essence it creates a sports village,” he said.
GSI expects families from Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis and Nashville to travel to Belleville for tournaments.
Thorman said the Shrine and downtown Belleville are a couple of places the tournament participants and visitors may be interested in seeing when there are breaks in tournament play.
“The downtown will be very appealing to people,” Thorman said.