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Lebanon courts new hotel, sports complex

Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 7:01 PM

If all goes as anticipated, Lebanon’s Cumberland Center would be home to the fifth GoodSports hotel and sports complex. 

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead invited city and county leaders to meet with GoodSports officials next week to iron out details with the Sarasota, Fla.-based group. 

According to Larry Frankenbach, vice president of Vastland Realty Group, which is overseeing development of the Cumberland Center off S. Cumberland Street near the Interstate 40 exit in Lebanon, GoodSports officials seek to build a 120-room hotel and an adjacent field house to serve the $7 billion annual revenue amateur sports market. 

“Families across the country spend weekends at facilities like these tournaments and activities such as basketball, volleyball, cheerleading and gymnastics,” Frankenbach said. “Lebanon has been selected to be one of the locations for the roll out of the GoodSports plan. The location on Legends Drive will work perfectly with our plans for retail, restaurants and other businesses that want to locate on I-40 in the fast-growing Lebanon and Wilson County markets. These facilities and activities will bring a tremendous economic impact to the community that will spread beyond Cumberland Center.”  

Craighead said the Aug. 27 meeting would serve as a chance for GoodSports officials to meet with city and county elected officials and others to determine whether Lebanon is an ideal fit for the complex. 

“It’s an industry that has great potential to attract a lot of people to our area with the concept they have,” Craighead said. “We still have a long way to go, but next week will give them a good chance to meet a lot of our people. This is a $7 billion industry, and their concept is new. What they are trying to do is make this a name brand. It looks like they are going to build about 24-25 in the next five years, and it looks like we could be in the first four or five of them.”

According to GoodSports’ website, construction has begun or is nearing completion on similar complexes in Huber Heights, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Chesterfield, Mo.; and Greenwood, Ind. GoodSports vice president of development Anthony Homer was unable to be reached for comment Tuesday. 

Frankenbach said the GoodSports hotel and field house plans fit well with Phase 2 plans for the Cumberland Center, which include a community events center, hotel and light rail station, in addition to the GoodSports facilities. The Cumberland Center currently includes Logan’s Roadhouse restaurant and Boot Barn. Both opened more than a year ago. 

Repeated attempts in the past few years by Craighead and other city leaders to fund construction and operations of an events center at the site have failed to come to fruition, meeting opposition from the Lebanon City Council. 

“From the beginning, the Cumberland Center master plan has contained several elements that will separate it from other mixed-use centers in the region,” Frankenbach said. “Sports, events, entertainment, hospitality and restaurants combine to make great complimentary destinations for retail and office site selection executives. Over the past year, we’ve looked more intensively at ways to combine these elements into our Phase 2 plans.”

Frankenbach said he admires GoodSports’ business model and reputation.  

“This experienced group has developed and operated high-quality hotels under the Focus Group banner across the country for [more than] 40 years,” he said.

“We’re excited about continuing our excellent working relationship with the city of Lebanon and look forward to finding other ways to attract new businesses, visitors and shoppers to the community. The process has a long way to go, however, the early response from the community and leadership has been very positive so far.”

The meeting with GoodSports officials will be at 8 a.m. at the Town Meeting Hall in Lebanon. 

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