LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - It’s been six years in the making for developers of a large complex in Lee’s Summit. Right now, I-470 and High View Drive is an empty lot without much electric, sewer or gas infrastructure.
But in just a few years, it will be a $400 million sports and entertainment complex.
Wednesday is the groundbreaking for phase one of the development. That portion of the project is estimated at $212 million and will feature 10 soccer fields, a championship field, volleyball courts, restaurants, bars, a hotel and apartments.
The 130-acre project was proposed in 2009 when the developers saw an opportunity beyond just building office space.
"One of the issues we have here in Missouri is we don't have a facility like this anywhere. A lot of our youth are having to use the facilities in Overland Park, which are overused," explained Paragon Star project coordinator William Brown. He said a soccer club will anchor the complex.
The project has more than 100 teams and 1,100 players.
"It's a momentous step forward today for area youth sports, patrons of hiking and biking trails, recreation, dining and entertainment venues," said Paragon Star CEO Flip Short.
The initial phase of the project will have a major trail head for both the Little Blue Trace and Katy Trails. Developers say it will be a draw for people who bike and hike.
Brown describes this as a perfect example of public and private partnership. About $150 million of initial phase is being paid for in private equity and debt. Additional funds are coming from the state of Missouri.
Developers are in the process of asking Lee's Summit for about $20 million.
Construction is expected to start next week. The fields should be open for play in spring 2018.
Developers estimate for the second phase of the project to take ten years to finish.