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Lebanon, Goodsports agree on deal (with video)

By Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 7:04 PM

Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead and GoodSports president and chief executive Jerald Good both confirmed a handshake deal Wednesday to bring one of the first in a chain of hotels and sports complexes to Lebanon’s Cumberland Center. 

Good spoke with Lebanon and Wilson County officials and business leaders about his vision for the sports village to be potentially built in the Cumberland Center off S. Cumberland Street near the Interstate 40 exit and the potential it has for Lebanon and surrounding areas.

Good said the family atmosphere of Lebanon and Middle Tennessee aligned with his vision for the GoodSports brand as a place that combines family, sports and retail.

The GoodSports Village consists of a 115-room GoodSports Hotel and a 60,000-square-feet indoor sports center next to it.

The athlete-minded hotel is designed to serve the needs of travelling parents and athletes, separate or together. The hotel would feature a fitness center, dining, quiet lounge areas and spa-inspired bathrooms.

Good said a “locker room” space would be included on the hotel’s ground floor, complete with televisions and video games to allow the athletes to relax and unwind while parents could have time for themselves. 

The field house features new sports industry equipment and technology, fitness centers, dining, performance training and an athletic academy. It would include 8,000 square feet for fitness with club memberships offered, another hardwood area for basketball and volleyball, a second-floor golf facility and additional hardwood for yoga that could double as space to feed teams. 

The field house would also hold its own year-round weekly leagues and tournaments at all age levels and athletic camps.

“This is not going to look like a gym,” Good said. “We spent a lot of time with our designers to give this an upscale feel.”

Good said he planned to use local contractors, and the facilities would be available for local events, such as proms, as well. 

GoodSports is Good’s first venture into the growing $7 billion annual revenue amateur sports market and hopes his idea would ease some of the woes that comes with the industry for families.

He said the village would eliminate some travel between hotels and playing fields and ease the workload of the typical soccer mom that is responsible for cleaning uniforms. The village would feature a laundry facility where teams can drop off dirty uniforms and pick them up the following morning.

Good said that could create more time for family activities away from the sports. 

“You have 30 million kids aged 7-17 that travel with at least one travel team in this country and some families have two or three kids, maybe more.

“Families put so much money into kids and sports and often plan their vacations around their kids’ tournaments. This is a new phenomena and has potential for big revenue.”

Good said his facility would work well with some established sporting events in Lebanon, such as the 14U Continental Amateur Baseball Association’s World Series, amateur basketball tournaments affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Association and several events associated with softball and other sports.

“You’re looking at about 100-140 teams in Lebanon on a weekend for travel sports,” Good said. “The statistics show that each person spends about $209 per day while on these sporting weekends. The generational income for the community is phenomenal. It’s an inexpensive way for the community to make big revenue.”

Craighead said the project’s near fruition has spurred the addition of a high-pressure water line to be installed from Franklin Road across the Cumberland Center property to connect with a line at S. Cumberland Street. Plans are also in the works for a widening project on Briskin Lane, and Craighead said state funds are more likely with the potential addition of the GoodSports facility. 

Both Craighead and Good said details regarding incentives still need to be worked out before contracts are signed. Craighead said the plan on the table currently is for the city to not charge property tax on the field house and provide an abatement for an unspecified amount of time on the hotel. 

“The payoff is they’ve kickstarted this area for future development,” Craighead said. 

Good said his company’s business model is incentive driven and expects to receive between 20 percent-30 percent in incentives based on total revenue generated by the complex. 

Good, who has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 40 years, impressed Wilson County economic development executive director G.C. Hixson. 

“I think it’s a good opportunity,” Hixson said after the meeting. “I’m impressed with his credentials in the hospitality industry. This is a new concept. The infrastructure investments the city is making in that area will allow us to do more marketing in the retail arena.”

Councilor Kathy Warmath was equally receptive to the plans. 

“It sounds exciting,” she said. “I think the most pleasant part of this project is that it is privately funded. That’s always been a concern. This pleases me.”

Councilor Lanny Jewell, however, wanted to see some final figures before he could lend his full support to the project. 

“I want them to lay out all the figures on the table,” Jewell said. “I want to look at all the abatement figures. What if the road comes in over [budget]? It sounds good, but all of the financials aren’t on the table yet.”

Good said he’s worked with Lebanon officials since February to get the project off the ground. So far, he said he’s been impressed with the city. 

“I like the community and the way it has embraced this project,” Good said. 

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.

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