A $234 million soccer development is in limbo as developers want more city money

Developers of a soccer project in Grandview want more money from the city to help with project costs.
Developers of a soccer project in Grandview want more money from the city to help with project costs. File

Developers of Gateway Sports Village, a $234 million mixed-use project anchored by soccer fields that's been referred to as the biggest development in Grandview, say they're at "the end of our rope" and need $8 million from the city.

That request is on top of a $43 million tax increment financing plan, which uses new property and economic activity taxes generated by the project to reimburse the developers. Grandview approved that plan shortly after Gateway Sports Village was announced in 2016.

Gateway Sports Village would incorporate 15 synthetic turf soccer fields, 540 hotel rooms, 864 multifamily units and 150,000 square feet of retail space on 250 acres at Missouri Highway 150 and Byars Road.

Construction started early in 2017 and an initial phase was to have opened that fall, but work has stalled and the project is now behind schedule.

"The bottom line is they're trying to finalize their financing and they need more help from us," said Valerie Poindexter, a spokeswoman for Grandview.

The project's development team, PG LLC, includes former Kansas City Chiefs player Deron Cherry and former Sporting Kansas City chief operating officer Greg Cotton. PG LLC has a lease agreement with Heartland Soccer Association, a youth soccer administrator in Overland Park, to use the soccer fields.

Cotton told the Grandview Board of Aldermen at a work session meeting earlier this month that the developers had spent $7 million so far and that banks have been reluctant to lend money to public infrastructure improvements that would support the project. Cotton added that the developers have exhausted their pre-development credit.

"I don't know how I can make that any clearer: We can no longer afford to make those payments as a developer," Cotton told Grandview officials.

PG LLC's $8 million ask is not insignificant in the context of Grandview's budget. Grandview brings in $15 million a year from revenues including property, sales and franchise taxes.

If Grandview borrowed money for the $8 million, annual repayments would be about $600,000 to $700,000 a year, depending on interest rates. That's about half of what Grandview budgets for public works.

Cotton told Grandview officials that other soccer complexes are funded entirely through public money, which he said makes Gateway Sports Village different. The Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex is funded through a transient guest tax. An under-construction soccer project in Olathe receives some public funding from the city but also involves substantial private investment.

Grandview officials have not yet made a decision on how to respond to PG LLC's request. Grandview city administrator Cemal Umut Gungor declined to comment.