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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pasco picks RADDSPORTS for athletic complex



The gym's not even built, but it has its first winner. 

RADDSPORTS of Sarasota emerged in first place late Friday afternoon in a two-team competition to design, build and operate a proposed multipurpose sports center in Wesley Chapel. The firm and its partners, luxury hotel developer Mainsail Development Group of Tampa and financier Municipal Acquisitions of Washington D.C. were top-ranked by five of the six members of a county evaluation committee. The Pasco County Commission is scheduled to consider the committee's recommendation Oct. 11. 

After years of unsuccessful pursuit of a sports-tourism project, the county last year turned to Chicago-based consulting firm, Johnson Consulting, which recommended that Pasco pursue an indoor multipurpose center of at least 85,000 square feel capable holding youth sports including volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading and other competitions. 

Four companies answered the county's request for proposals with RADDSPORTS and Sports Facilities Management of Clearwater selected as finalists. Both made presentations to the county committee Friday, but RADD became the clear favorite after committee members cited the company's passion and aggressive commitment to hospitality. 

RADDSPORTS proposed a $14 million, 98,000-square-foot center with eight basketball courts and dedicated space for gymnastics, cheerleading and a fitness center; a $15 million Mainsail Marriott hotel, room for a second hotel, and outdoor sports fields doubling as the lawn for an open-air amphitheater. 

Committee members lauded Sports Facilities Management's experience and successful track record of managing four of the top nine multipurpose sports tourism venues in the U.S. The company, however, submitted no renderings and committee members termed the pitch too vague. 

"Even a diagram would have been helpful,'' said Richard Gehring, the county's strategic policy administrator. 

Other committee members were assistant county administrator Cathy  Pearson and Heather Grimes, recreation and natural resources director Kelley Boree; facilities director Erik Breitenbach and tourism manager Ed Caum. 

If the commission agrees with the recommendation, the county will attempt to negotiate a contract with RADDSPORTS for the project at Wiregrass Ranch. The county has set aside $8.5 million in tourist tax proceeds and the Porter family, owners/developers of the Wiregrass Ranch, donated 120 acres to the county to be the site of the sports-tourism complex.

[Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2016 5:56pm]


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