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Estridge drops Westfield sports complex, still plans stadium

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The Estridge Cos. has withdrawn a proposal to build a massive youth sports complex in its master-planned Symphony development in Westfield.

The Carmel-based home builder and developer had envisioned about 150 acres of youth sports fields as part of its 1,500-acre Symphony development, but the Westfield Sports Commission is looking for about 300 acres for its youth sports complex—about the size of the King's Island theme park.

The $1 billion Symphony project still calls for a 5,000-seat multipurpose stadium that would host an independent, minor-league baseball team, along with a new YMCA branch.

“As time went on, it become apparent to us that the Sports Commission’s real intent was to do something much larger, on a grander scale,” CEO Paul Estridge Jr. said in an interview. “For us, we don’t think that fits in the vision of Symphony.”

The sports complex is part of the mayor’s vision to establish the fast-growing Hamilton County suburb as the “Family Sports Capital of America.”

Estridge had submitted a proposal to develop the sports complex as part of its Symphony development, along Towne Road between 146th and 161st streets. Competing proposals came from local developer Chris R. White (for a site north of downtown Westfield), and a team including developers Beau Wilfong and Steve Henke (for property north of State Road 32 and west of U.S. 31).

Westfield Mayor Andy Cook expects the project to move forward, despite Estridge’s decision, and thinks a developer could be named within the next three weeks.

“The sports group has always asked for 300 acres; Estridge is determined he can only discuss 150 acres,” Cook said. “Based on his decision to stick with 150 acres, I think what he’s saying is that, 'I can’t make that work dollars-and-cents- wise, so I’m going to pull out.'”

Cook said creating the 300-acre sports complex could help the city spread the tax burden on the town's 20,000 residents to something other than residential development.

Estridge said he has landed a verbal commitment for a minor-league baseball team to play in Symphony's new outdoor stadium.

In addition, Symphony would include condominiums and apartments, and also retail shops, restaurants and hotels. The project already features the Wood Wind Golf Club.

Westfield’s Advisory Plan Commission still is considering the plans after hearing details of the project for the first time at a June meeting.

Estridge is asking Westfield to invest $70 million in the project to fund roads and sewers, as well as the stadium, which has a preliminary price tag of $15 million. Establishing a tax-increment financing district could help the city pay for the infrastructure improvements and stadium project, Cook said.

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  • poor choice
    Building a 300 acre sports coplex is ridiculus. to make real money it would be better to build a higher quility park in a smaller area. Big League Dreams builds replica parks on 30-60 acre lots that bring cities 400k annually with a profit sharing agreement. and do it for only 15-20M and take care of the maintnence of the park.
  • Does anyone think this will work?
    I honestly don't know what Westfield Sports Commission is thinking. Do they really think a sports complex as large as King's Island will succeed? They may believe Westfield is the center of the universe, but to the rest of us it is not exactly centrally located. When a big, big thinker like Paul Estridge thinks the idea is too big, you should know you are in trouble.

    All I can figure out is that all of the huge egos in Westfield are telling themselves this makes sense and are simply ignoring anyone who is telling them it won't work.
  • common sense
    Perhaps Estridge has finally come to terms that they are biting off more than they could chew. Its a little disheartening to think they would invest so much in a project they can't handle, when they should be fulfilling the promises they made to Rock Bridge and other communities
  • I hate sprawl
    146th Street is already far enough out into the countryside. We don't need to keep building new infrastructure further out - when there is plenty of land further in - with infrastructure - that can be developed or re-developed.
  • No To Bad Ideas
    The City should not give Estridge $70MM for this development. It's a terrible idea by a builder on the brink of bankruptcy.

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