February 11, 2019

Study predicts $15M in spending from proposed W. Locks sports complex

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
A rendering of the proposed All Sports Village Complex.

An economic impact study commissioned by developer JABS Sports Management LLC says the company's planned sports complex at the intersection of Route 20 and Interstate 91 in Windsor Locks would generate $15 million in local spending in its first year of operation.

That number, the study said, would grow to $27 million in five years.

The study, conducted by the consulting firm Sports Facilities Advisory, analyzed the number of people who would travel 90 minutes or more to Windsor Locks to use the facility, as well as how many would stay overnight in local hotels.

The sports complex is to include a 200,000-square-foot indoor facility with 15 basketball courts, 30 volleyball courts cross-lined over the basketball courts, offices, viewing areas, and concession stands.

A proposed 20-acre outdoor portion would have eight multipurpose synthetic turf fields and a multipurpose grass field with seating for 5,000.

First Selectman Christopher Kervick has said the complex, which would host sports games for traveling student athletes and their families, would allow the town to cash in on a growing industry of "sports tourism."

According to the economic impact study, a person traveling to Windsor Locks to visit the sports complex will spend an average of $113 per day, with the most significant spending items being lodging and dining or groceries.

In the facility's first year of operation, Sports Facilities Advisory expects nearly 33,000 additional "room nights" to be booked in hotels, but that number is expected to grow to nearly 58,000 by year five.

"For a community of nine square miles and 12,500 people, that is a tremendous economic impact," Andrew Borgia, principal of JABS Sports Management, said in a statement.

Kervick said the results are "in line with the actual results that are being experienced by other communities around the country that have invested in similar facilities, and (the study) makes a compelling argument for entering into a public-private partnership with the developer to secure this opportunity for our town."

Kervick has said the project hinges on approval of the creation of a tax-increment financing district by a town meeting vote. Under such a district, the town would subsidize the project's development using property tax revenue generated by the project itself.

If voters approve, the town will grant "a substantial rebate in annual property taxes, but we still realize a tremendous increase in tax revenue compared to what we currently receive on the property," Kervick said

Alternative uses for the property still would not generate such significant revenue, he said.

As the sports complex plans progress and the developer pursues various town approvals, Kervick has been pushing for state legislation that would allow towns to keep a portion of the revenue generated by state hotel room occupancy taxes.

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