Ocoee residents and families from all around the world will have a new space to gather during travel baseball, softball and even Little League events during the 52 weeks of the year.
During its Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, meeting, the Ocoee City Commission approved the memorandum of understanding between Montierre Development PLLC and the city of Ocoee, which soon will bring the country’s second largest regional sports and entertainment complex to the area.
“We found the city very accepting of this process, and they worked very well with us, so we thought it was a great partnership,” Montierre Development founder and CEO Jaime Douglas said.
The complex will be known as the Ocoee Regional Sports Complex and will consist of 16 baseball fields, nine batting cages, multi-purpose fields, a recreation park and playground areas, a splash pad area and a welcome center.
“So, the unique portion of this complex and what makes it the second largest complex in the country is the fact that each field can be turned into smaller fields such as softball or Little League-sized fields,” Douglas said. “So, the complex is actually a 48-field complex if you max it out, so that gives us the opportunity to — if there are teams of every age — accommodate that within the complex.”
The complex is designed to accommodate the country’s massive travel baseball industry.
“Travel baseball is a great starting point as far as travel sports are concerned,” Douglas said. “If you look at some of the biggest sporting complexes, as part as travel sports as a whole, the initial sport for the complexes that is built is a travel baseball facility.
“Then, it expands from there. That is a great possibility for this area, as well,” Douglas said. “There is room for expansion. There is interest in expansion, and this is just the start for what the city has the potential to become as far as with the travel sport industry. Baseball is typically a great cornerstone to create that situation.”
“I can attest to the popularity of travel baseball for the youth,” Commissioner Richard Firstner said. “So, I can see this generating the interest of a lot of people in the country, people spend money on this like there is no tomorrow.”
The project, the biggest in Montierre Development’s history, also will include a mixed-use center that will be located next to the sports complex. It will consist of two hotels with about 400 rooms, seven retail or restaurant buildings, about 20,000 square feet of office space and two parking garages with up to 1,600 parking spaces.
The development will combine what is formally identified as the Rogers Property located on Ocoee-Apopka Road with the lands located adjacent to it currently known as the Chevron Property.
“When we purchased the Rodgers Property, the intent was a sports field; we had just not been able to do it,” Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen said. “But … the plan when we bought (the property) was (to use it) for that purpose, so this is exciting to me.”
The construction process will be carried out by two management teams. One will focus solely on the construction of the complex infrastructure, while the other team will manage the commercial — and the multi-use — side of the project.
“As far as contractors, we will have multiple contractors on-site,” Douglas said. “We have met with a few local contractors and discussed where we go as far as the invitation for proposals. So, we are excited to have the possibility to have this built by local contractors and put together a good team on both sides of the aisle.”
Even though Montierre Development has not made a decision yet as to which contracting companies will carry out the work, it is expected that most of the work fall on the shoulders of local workers.
In total, the project will bring about 1,096 full-time job opportunities to the residents of the city of Ocoee.
BENEFITS FOR THE CITY
The sports complex will sit on 148 acres along Ocoee-Apopka Road and will bring a number of benefits to the city of Ocoee, such as an influx of new jobs that will provide local work opportunities for city residents.
“It will bring (a lot of) new jobs,” Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson said. “This kind of entertainment — it’s youth sports. These kids are doing travel baseball. … It will bring youth activities, (and) that’s good, because kids need to have stuff to do.”
Once the complex and facilities are open to the public, there is an estimated revenue stream the city will receive as an annual percentage in profits.
“There will be a profit-sharing layout that will be in place that could, depending on the capacity of the hotels and parking garages, be between $3 million and $6 million yearly for no less than 20 years,” Douglas said. “That would be an adjusted revenue just for the profit standing for the city.” Moreover, the city of Ocoee will receive an increased tax revenue, which will act as payback from the Rogers Property.
“That will be around $1.6 million in property tax for the whole complex and also the economic impact,” Douglas said. “If you take what a typical individual spends on each child or family member, then the economic impact can range from $500 million to $900 million yearly in the city of Ocoee and surrounding areas. Any (city) that gets an economic driver such as this will be very happy, and (that) will create a great community basis and allow the city to grow in a positive manner.”
ACCESS POINTS/TRAFFIC IMPACT
As part of the construction project, Montierre Development will provide enhancement of the environment located within the property and the infrastructure as well as the widening of Ocoee-Apopka and Fullers Cross roads to alleviate any traffic impacts that the surplus of people may bring to the city.
“The complex will have a minimum of four entrance and exit points,” Douglas said. “There will be three main entrance and exits points that will tie into the surrounding exits for State Road 429. Also, we are going to try to have as many as possible (and) we’d like to tie one in on the east side of the property as well and that would be determined in the design phase.”
All three exits are expected to connect with S.R. 429 to encourage drivers to use the highway rather than residential streets.
“This facility will have the potential to be maxed out, as far as participants, for 52 weeks out of the year,” Douglas said. “That’s why our main emphasis is not only to create a clean and safe environment for the participants … (but also) put together the best possible route for individuals to enter the complex and get to the (S.R.) 429 and the main highway system.”
The development will come at no cost for the city. The only request from the commissioners was for the developers to hire local contractors and local professionals to bring more jobs to the city.
The project is set to break ground in late 2023 and is scheduled and expected to be completed in 2025.