The Edmond Sun

December 30, 2013

Big changes ahead along I-35 in Edmond

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Covell Road and Interstate 35 moved ahead to become an economic gateway to Edmond in 2013 with groundbreaking for the Summit Sports Complex, a hotel conference center and the opening of the Francis Tuttle Business Innovation Center.

Business and community leaders gathered Thursday to celebrate the Francis Tuttle Business Innovation Center, 2824 Progressive Drive. The 38,000-square-foot building is near the northeast corner of Covell Road and Interstate 35.

The center will accommodate Adult and Career Development courses and workshops with a business innovation center, classrooms and offices for a 12,000-square-foot business incubator.

The Francis Tuttle Business Innovation Center began development six years ago to enhance business development for success in the workplace, said Peggy Geib, assistant superintendent for Business and Industry Services.

“Whether you come to complete professional licensing requirements or you’ve sent your employees to learn about enhancing their skills that are needed in your workplace, we value that you chose Francis Tuttle as your training partner, and we value you,” Geib said.

Every tax dollar invested in career tech returns $7 in wages to Oklahoma communities, said Suzette Northcutt Rhodes, president of the Francis Tuttle Board of Education.

Career tech graduates earn $188 million more during their expected work life, compared to high school graduates who do not have career training education, Rhodes said.

“That adds $3.4 billion annually to the Oklahoma economy,” Rhoades said.

The Francis Tuttle Business Innovation Center also will house the Center for Municipal Excellence to save money not only for the municipal workers of Edmond, Friedemann said, but other municipalities that will now train there.

A business incubator accelerates successful development of entrepreneurial companies by providing an array of business support resources and services, said Fred Green, executive director.

 Multi million dollar sports complex will break ground next spring

Economic development and sports enthusiasm is on the rise with the new $15 million Summit Sports Complex.

In October, community leaders were presented with the official unveiling of the complex that is being developed on the northeast corner of Interstate 35.

The groundbreaking for the 155,000-square-foot facility is anticipated in the spring and it will open during the summer of 2015, said Brad Lund, who is part of the Summit management team with Sold Out Strategies.

Summit Sports Complex will house eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts and two indoor soccer fields under one roof, Lund said. Food service, office space, meeting space as well as medical and physical therapy will be housed in the facility.

“It is a dream come true for us,” said Mark Herrin, representing Oklahoma Peak Performance Volleyball.

Indoor space in this region of the U.S. is needed, said Tim McLaughlin, majority owner of the new North American Soccer League set to play in the spring of 2015.

Summit Sports Complex will combine as an indoor facility with the renovated Taft Stadium outdoor facility in Oklahoma City, he said.

NBA champion Desmond Mason said the complex will offer something special to the next generation of athletes. Professional players also will have a valuable place to work out, he said.

The City of Edmond was a partner in bringing the sports complex to Edmond. Purchasing the 19.35 acres of land for the privately owned sports complex cost the city $2 million. The land had appraised for $2.1 million.

“We identified the river of opportunity that runs north and south called I-35,” Mayor Charles Lamb said.

The developer would pay all construction costs for the indoor sports complex, which would be privately owned and operated. Summit Sports Complex is the responsibility of principal owners Derek Turner and Davis Hudiburg.

The city will provide the land for the sports complex and lease it to the developer for $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year, according to attorney Leslie Batchelor, who represents the city in the project. Payments would begin by April 1 or if an occupancy permit is issued before that date.

The developer has the right to purchase the land at any time. The city has the option to force the developer to purchase the land after 15 years of occupancy.

Summit Sports Complex will trigger major economic activity from people visiting Edmond, Lamb said. Turner & Company began years ago trying to figure out how to move traffic to Edmond, Derek Turner said.

“What a better way to do it than youth sports?” he said.

Hotel and conference center is a major investment

The hotel and conference center project on Interstate 35 is very much on track, said John Weeman of Partners In Development.

A major economic investment in 2012 was made by the city at Covell at Interstate 35. The Edmond City Council approved the negotiated agreements for developing the $25.5 million Hilton Garden Inn and conference center to be located at the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Covell Road.

“We’re excited at the possibilities of entering Edmond and partnering with the Convention Visitors Bureau,” Weeman said. “We’ll bring a whole new segment of business into the Edmond marketplace.”

The hotel and conference center will be able to accommodate an expansive hotel and meetings market, Weeman said.

The City Council identified a need for a hotel and conference center to generate tourism and sales tax and improve quality of life in Edmond. In 2011, Weeman presented to EEDA a market, feasibility and business plan for the hotel and conference center.

Council members approved the $2.2 million purchase of 7.13 acres of undeveloped land at the hotel site in 2012. The $2.2 million was taken from the city’s Real Property Tax Fund. Safeguards are in place to protect the city’s land investment, said attorney Leslie Batchelor, representing the city in the project. It is a legal requirement that the public not give anything away to private investment, Batchelor said. | 341-2121