Commissioners unanimously approved to authorize the city manager to officially enter negotiations with Gary Sheffield Sports Village, LLC to redevelop the property near the stadium.
The teams are back on the diamond after commissioners unanimously voted to authorize the city manager to enter negotiations with Gary Sheffield Sports Village, LLC to redevelop the long-anticipated Sports Village.
Gary Sheffield Sports Village, LLC was the only applicant to go after the bid to redevelop the city owned property of the Plant City Stadium, the Randy L. Larson Softball Four-Plex and two adjacent parcels of land. After the evaluation committee reviewed the submission they unanimously agreed to recommend the city move forward with negotiations.
“Negotiations took a long time the first time, but now I think we have a lot of work done,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “The speed at which we go forward depends on if their team wants to work off the existing plan or start over.”
This is not Sheffield’s first time at the plate as he was a part of GCJ Sports, LLC, which originally had an agreement with the city to develop the property. The original plan was to have at least $50 million worth of development in five years and the group told the city the plan was to exceed that and aim for $100 million to $120 million in the first phase. However, after a split between the partners the agreement eventually dissolved.
Now Sheffield is back with his own concept and is ready to bring Sports Village to fruition.
Nothing is set in stone until negotiations are complete, however, the hope is the project will develop a world-class amateur baseball complex that would have the amenities in place to host massive baseball tournaments filled with players from across the country.
The city is open to development on approximately 133 acres and the proposed complex includes nine baseball fields, a championship stadium, an amenity building, a meeting space, 1,500 bed “player village” housing, a players cafeteria, weight rooms, a community park and a town center featuring items like a medical center, restaurants and entertainment.
The town center aspect of the development is designed to help retain any economic impact induced by the baseball complex operations. If the proposed concept is close to the final plan the complex will be able to host both multi-day and week long tournaments and include lodging, dining and everything traveling families would need for a relaxing stay.
The proposal states there will be three stages with phase one creating the nine baseball fields, the dorm-style housing for players, the cafeteria for players and a hotel with approximately 100 rooms.
“Our goal is to create a sports tourism destination in Plant City that will capture long-term economic impact through hosting tournaments that include multiple days spent at the village by out of town visitors,” the proposal read. “The revenue will come from tournament fees, lodging for tournament guest and families, dining, entertainment, retail and tournament sponsorships.”
On-site parking at the perimeter of the site as well as some picnic areas and playgrounds are also slotted to be included in the facilities.
The proposal said Sheffield, along with his investor partners, will be contributing the initial capital required for the project and “Cushman & Wakefield’s Project Development Services and Debt & Equity desk will be responsible for the capital contributions to complete the project. At this time, we are assuming that the project will be funded 35 percent with equity and 65 percent with debt.”
A letter of interest from Raymond James and Associates Inc. was also included in the proposal where the company said it was prepared to assist in raising $50 million for the project.
Now that negotiations will officially be underway there is a chance, if all goes smoothly, Plant City could see construction in Nov. 2020.