Westfield plans sports complex

April 23, 2009
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Westfield Sports ComplexThe mayor of Westfield hopes to build a youth sports complex with a 4,000-seat multipurpose outdoor stadium, indoor sports facilities and fields for baseball, soccer, softball and lacrosse. The roughly $60-million sports complex would anchor a 1,500-acre development by locally based Estridge Co. along Towne Road between 146th and 161st streets. The project, called Symphony, already features the Wood Wind Golf Club. All told, the sports component and clusters of retail, hotels and residential development around it would require a public and private investment of $1.5 billion, Mayor Andy Cook said. The city hopes to attract an unaffiliated minor-league baseball team to play in the outdoor stadium, and also hopes to lure the YMCA as a major tenant. The ultimate goal is to turn Westfield, a bedroom community without much of an identity, into the “Family Sports Capital of America.� The image above is an early rendering showing the layout of the 200-acre complex. The full story is here. What do you think?

  • This is crazy! All the while, Westfield is planning on re-inventing their downtown by creating a pretty sweet master plan for new development. I wish I had a link for that.

    But that is a ton of money, coming from a community that killed their proposed library project by referendum just over a year ago. I just wonder where it would truly come from. 60 Billion!?
  • Oops, typo, sorry, $60 million. This ain't the Federal Gov't.
  • Seems like a pretty inappropriate time to be talking about a $1.5 billion masterplan, with a $60 million multipurpose stadium. Indianapolis is already known as a sports meca, with facilities that rival any major city in the country. What makes Westfield think that they can really compete with that?
    This is as wild as what Carmel is doing right now... if you're going to reinvent yourself, make sure that you have all the funding that you need and that you aren't pooling from taxes. I wouldn't want to live in Westfield right now...
  • What a hoot! I love it when local governments start to be anti-stewards to tax dollars. Perhaps Westfield should take note of Indianapolis' current CIB budget shortfall situation - no money to keep the grandios monuments in operation. It seems like everyone wants to be driving a Bentley, but they should consider what the costs of ownership really are. Although, I guess we all need to dream a little bit sometime; how else would we be able to commute through 10 round-abouts?
    The unveiling of this concept is just poor timing. It may be possible to secure the funds by eliminating their huge Public Works department? Ideas abound.....
  • Good grief. Government yet again believes that it can create demand. I guess Westfield figures they had to come up with something different all while trying to keep up with Carmel. “Family Sports Capital of America? - that's really funny. Maybe in Arizona, Florida, Texas or California, but not in Westfield, Indiana. The season is too short in Indiana. Unless they are going to have family bobsledding or some such thing during the winter. I'll stop now. I don't want to give the delusional government types in Westfield any ideas.
  • Besides don't most kids quit playing soccer by the age of 14? I think I read that somewhere.
  • Props to Westfield for trying to become the family sports capital of America; better that Brainless's quest to become the roundabout captial of the world in Car-mell
  • This idea was floated to Carmel and they said no. If anybody would have or could have had a minor league team it would be Mayor Brainless. Eastridge is just providing the ground - and I guarantee he is not giving it away. Westfield is so debt laiden they are looking for anything to help pay the bills.

    Westfield is the hardest most disorganized place to do business. Schemes like this will cost Mayor Cook re-election.
  • It surprises me how short sighted some people are on this blog. I'm not particularly a fan of this project but I'm sure people said the same thing when carmel zoned its first office ground along meridian. What are they thinking!? What a stupid place to have office buildings!! Now Carmel has only 1.9 MM square feet less of office than downtown INDY (10MM vs 8.1)!!! As a result Carmel has the lowest residential taxes of any city in the state (there are 100!! of them).That all started with LEADERSHIP that had LONG TERM VISION!!

    Govts don't create demand but if the land isn't set asided decades in advance it would never happen. It all starts with good forward thinking leadership. That's what we call planning. DUH!!

    And btw Cman, enjoy your roundabouts. Those poor saps in Fishers have to start/stop, start/stop, start/stop at every fourway intersection until they get to crawl onto I69.


    So many haters out there!
  • What's the name of the unaffiliated minor-league baseball team? How 'bout the Suckers? Will this team be a part of Kevin Costner's new league? http://withleather.uproxx.com/tag/minor-league-baseball

    I can hear it now, If you build it, they will not come.
  • Wow. Apparently Cory's picked up a substantial number of IndyStar board-readers.
  • Don't want to rush to judgement since we haven't actually spent a dollar yet, but this concerns me greatly. I am a sports fan with kids who would benefit. Adult softball players are lacking heavily for opportunities to play in leagues in the area. AS professional sports face a decline due to recession - we will see an increase in local sporting activities for families as a replacement for high dollar pro attendance. So there is no doubt a market for family sports facilities in the area. But why such a grand plan? The world is changing and it is no longer safe to presume that we will ever return to status quo. I'm sick of all the smoke and mirror games played by Westfield with their self-congratulating fractional tax decreases and accountability standards and not-so-subtle efforts to gain control of whatever services possible and generate revenue. THe public works department is a revenue generator, trash is now a public service (they kicked republic trash out of the city and took a perpetual broker fee on the deal with Rays while patting themselves on the back for saving us a couple bucks), they dig wells outside city limits and sell the water to Indianapolis at a profit, and the list goes on. Rather than working to lower our taxes - Westfield wants to create as much revenue at possible and fund these sexy overpriced projects so that people will like us better and move here. Has anyone ever considered that consistetly lowering taxes in a significant way and increasing unemployment in city government circles might be the best way to attract development? Sell the water to Indianapolis and use the money to refund my taxes, not build pet projects. Or better yet - get the heck out of every business except police/fire and road maintenance. The only way that WF or any other town will get this message is if we move or vote people out. It's coming - and not just in WF. The days of style over function have ended.

    Mayor Cook: ask us if we want sports facilities. If yes, then build some diamonds and a modest clubhouse on land you already own and run it profitably. If you prove you can do that, then ask us if we want more facilities or if we want our investment money back in the form of a tax cut.
  • To Ivo:

    Thanks, Mom. See for dinner on Sunday.

    Your Boy.
  • ...but I’m sure people said the same thing when carmel zoned its first office ground along meridian. “What are they thinking!? What a stupid place to have office buildings!!”

    Actually that's not what we said at all. Nice attempt at building a straw man though.
  • I like ambitious projects -- This is a BAD project. The site is between 6 - 7 miles from the Westfield town center. It actually is closer to downtown Carmel and Zionsville. Would this benefit Westfield and differentiate it from Carmel? Westfield would have to build hotels to compete with INDY and CARMEL who already have sufficient lodging, restraunts, and shopping. Is that why the total project is estimated at $1,500,000,000?

    People, if you are a Westfield resident do you want $60,000,000 of your taxes spent 6 miles from your town? What about the other $1,440,000,000 investment outside of your core community? Do families with kids in national little league sporting events even want to come to Westfield, IN for their vacations? Will this place ever pay for itself? Is Mayor Cook this stupid or does he just have a build it big ego?
  • Is Mayor Cook this stupid or does he just have a build it big ego?
    Uh, these multiple choice questions are tough.
  • This is absolutely Ludicrous. You would have thought after years of watching the communities of Fishers, Carmel, Avon, Zionsville these smart guys would have some business sense. Maybe they should include a destination amusement park in their plans .... for Cryin Out Loud!
  • This will be one of the most prolific developments to grace the Midwest in the next 50 years. I can't wait.
  • The hot trend among Indiana towns is build tourism through youth and amateur sporting events. Problem is...someone is going to lose out and end up with a bunch of unused facilities. First of all, I can't imaging a minor league baseball team locating to a suburb. A small town is much better suited and will get more loyal fans. Westfield has to come to grips that it's a suburb...not a town. Nice recreation facilities are always a big seller for economic development, but you have to manage your risk. Don't build in hopes of something happening. Have a plan - and make it happen.
  • Note that the article says an unaffiliated minor league team. I assume they are talking about the lowest level, almost semi-pro team not even Class A (where Ft. Wayne and South Bend play). Here's a link to one of these leagues with teams here in the midwest.
  • Here's the type of minor league they are likely talking about.


    This is basically semi-pro.
  • I agree that this might be too much at one time. Start small and have plans in place to expand if successful.

    Regarding the minor league team, I assume they are considering a very low level minor league team that is basically semi-pro, such as:
  • Westfield should definitely consider this work in phases.

    I assume the type of minor league baseball contemplated is basically semi-pro such as the Frontier League, which might be appropriate.
  • This is crazy! All the while, Westfield is planning on re-inventing their downtown by creating a pretty sweet master plan for new development. I wish I had a link for that.
    I hope you were being sarcastic.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim