March 16th, 2011 10:53 AM by Karyn Smith
Osceola’s Board of County Commissioners approved two agreements yesterday (March 14, 2011) that promise to generate significant economic activity to the destination in the years ahead.
By unanimous vote, the commissioners agreed to amend the contract with Gaylord Palms and Rida Associates (ChampionsGate) to expand their operations and provide additional meeting and conference space for the destination. The commissioners also approved a deal with Birchwood Acres LLLP (the Harmony Development Team) to design and operate a multi-use sports complex.
Both agreements have various elements to them, but some of the highlights include:
· Gaylord Palms was essentially given a three-year extension to the 2008 agreement with Osceola County to secure financing for 594 new hotel rooms and 350,000 square feet of conference center space.
· The financial commitment from Osceola County is no more than $80 million bonded over 30 years.
· ChampionsGate was approved for a maximum $40 million to construct a 175,000 square foot conference center, built in two phases, and enter into a joint leisure, business and sports marketing agreement with the CVB as agents of Osceola County.
· Expansion at ChampionsGate also includes, at no cost to Osceola County, construction of two hotels. Additionally, eight multi-purpose athletic fields located in the adjacent Polk County portion of ChampionsGate will be developed.
· The deal with Birchwood (the Harmony Development Team) includes construction of eight synthetic-turf multi-use athletic fields supported by concession buildings, an administration/ticketing building, batting cages, children's recreation, and associated maintenance facilities and parking.
· Osceola County committed $7.5 million from its TDT reserves to acquire and own the 81-acre site for the project.
· Birchwood will operate and maintain the facility at no cost to the County, guaranteeing 38,888 room nights the first year; 47,222 the second, and 55,000 for every year thereafter.