Olathe & Southwest Joco

Olathe scores with approval of privately owned soccer complex

Olathe City Council approved a privately owned soccer complex, set to open in January 2019.
Olathe City Council approved a privately owned soccer complex, set to open in January 2019. West Star Development

Move over, Overland Park: You’ve got company in the youth soccer business.

The Olathe City Council on Tuesday approved the development of a privately owned soccer complex at the southwest corner of Kansas 10 and Ridgeview Road.

The 96-acre project, developed by Ridgeview Associates LLC and West Star Development, will cost an estimated $65 million and include nine all-weather artificial turf fields.

Unlike the 12-field Scheels Overland Park Soccer Complex near 135th Street and Switzer Road, the Olathe Soccer Complex, set to open on Jan. 1, 2019, will eventually include 27,000 square feet of retail and two hotels.

Overland Park-based Heartland Soccer has signed a 25-year lease to operate the complex.

The facility is also unlike the Overland Park complex — and all other similar developments in the metro area — in another important way, Pete Heaven, attorney for the developers, told council members.

“This will be the only project in Kansas City that is privately owned,” Heaven said. “It can truly be called a private/public partnership that works.”

Because of the retail and hotels, the development will be paid for without Olathe tax dollars, Heaven said. It’s expected to generate $13 million for the city in its first year of operation.

  

If developers meet certain criteria, the project can, however, qualify for up to $8 million in tax increment financing (TIF) and $4.5 million in community improvement district (CID) financing. Under the plan, the developers would not have to pay property taxes on the complex for 10 years.

Among the criteria: the complex must open by Jan. 1, 2019; the retail stores and hotels must open within three years of that date; and the project must generate at least 18,000 room nights in Olathe hotels annually.

The complex is expected to draw 250,000 soccer players and 1.35 million total visitors annually, Heaven said. At least 10 tournaments are expected to be played at the facility every year. For parts of June and July, Olathe Parks and Recreation will have use of the fields at no cost.

The council approved the project on a 5-0 vote. Mayor Michael Copeland and Councilman Ron Ryckman were not at the meeting.

Olathe Mayor Pro Tem Jim Randall said that in surveys, Olathe residents routinely praise the city’s sports and recreation facilities. The one thing lacking, many say, is a championship-caliber soccer facility.

“I think this is a great asset for the city of Olathe,” Randall said.

Johnson County isn’t the only part of the metro riding the soccer wave. The 12-field Wyandotte County Youth Soccer Complex is set to open this summer, and a group of developers that includes former Chief Deron Cherry has plans to build a 15-field soccer complex in Grandview.

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