A look at the lease agreement between SportsQuest & Chesterfield County

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – The mega sports complex SportsQuest is well under construction and now has Chesterfield County's monetary support.

According to the lease agreement, Chesterfield County is now partnering with private company: SportsQuest. The investment: $4.3-million. County Administrator Jay Stegmaier negotiated the deal.

"We did extensive analysis on the value of the facilities that we're receiving," said Stegmaier.

And some of the terms for the 20-year contract were changed from the initial proposal made in May. In addition to the use of 9 fields, a gym and a senior center, the county will be able to use all 17 fields one weekend per year. This was meant to help sports teams who are concerned with the lease.

"We're disappointed, extremely disappointed with that," said Rob Ukrop with the Richmond Kickers.  He says he's tried for months to be heard by county leaders.

"We're not talking about a five year, we're talking about a 20 year lease with $4.3-million up front- it makes you wonder, why wouldn't you talk to the biggest field users," Ukrop said.

But county leaders are standing by their decision- saying if the county built a similar facility the cost would be quadruple the investment. Steve Burton, CEO of the 250 acre SportsQuest, is excited about the lease.

He has a lot of work to do. By 2013 he must have 400 people on his payroll and have invested more than $100-million into the project. If he can do that the county will give him a grant equal to five consecutive years of property and sales taxes.

"Now we have a structured public-private partnership," said Burton.

If SportsQuest reaches its potential it will generate up to $7-million for Chesterfield each year. These 9 fields need to be ready for a soccer tournament Labor Day weekend. The fields leased to the county will be ready by January 31, 2011. The gyms and senior center will open in 2013.

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