Improving communities through sport

Ingredients Needed to Develop a Successful Sports-Anchored Development

Mixed Use Development

Guest post written by Cameron Connelly, Content & Research Coordinator, The Sports Facilities Companies. 

Mixed-use developments are everywhere these days. And for good reason. In a crowded urban landscape, land is a hot commodity and there is never enough of it to fit everything we want. By developing an apartment building with space for retail locations on the bottom floor, you can provide a community with new shops or restaurants while still using the space for housing. A somewhat new spin on this trend is building large sports facilities with retail space included on the property. Sports facilities are already powerful economic drivers for communities that typically spur new growth around the property. By including retail spaces in their design, they can jumpstart that growth and offset some of their costs with the rental income they will generate. This blog post will cover some of the key ingredients in making sure that the project is successful.  

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Research, Research, Research

When planning a mixed-use development project, there is no such thing as too much research. It is a project that requires a large investment of time and money to complete, and you need to ensure that no cent or second spent on the project is wasted. There are several decisions that need to be made throughout the pre-development and development processes. The more information that you have the easier it is to determine which decision is right for the project and for the community. The stages of planning a facility development start with early concept development and concept validation. In early concept development, the market opportunity is determined and evaluated. Sites are considered as well as the amenities the venue may include. Once you have a rough sketch of what you want to create, it is important to validate the concept and gather information about what sports and activities garner the greatest interest in the region surrounding the potential venue site. Many mixed-use developments anchor themselves around a retail space or shared workspace, but when you are planning to anchor the development around a sports facility even more research needs to be conducted to ensure that the facility will get the right amount of use. The success of the development is largely based on the success of the facility, so you need to get it right.

Planning and Partnerships

Once through with the concept development and concept validation stages, it is time to move onto the funding and partnership development stage before moving onto the venue planning and design. Partnership development is vitally important to the project’s success, so it is important to thoroughly vet any potential partners and make sure that your vision for the development aligns with their vision. It can be beneficial to use a Public-Private Partnership (P3) with the local government to consolidate the land, capital, and tax incentives from the public sector with the institutional planning and management expertise of the private sector to make for the most successful implementation of the project. It is also recommended to look for a construction partner early in the process so that they can provide their input and feedback to avoid change orders, scope creep, and other costly issues. Once your partnerships have been established, it is time to bring that team together to start planning and designing the venue and the surrounding areas. The key to a successful mixed-use development is finding the right combination of buildings and activities to entertain a multitude of guests so collaboration is important in the design process.

Operations and Management

In our industry leaders roundtable video, it was said that the key factors of a successful mixed-use development based around a sports facility are the facility itself, the site, and, most importantly, the operator. Even the most beautifully built facility on the most amazing piece of land available can be squandered by poor facility operations so be sure to put a great deal of focus on the operations development. A well-conceived operational plan for the facility makes it much easier to train and manage staff which in turn will make for a better experience for the guests. Whether it is the grand opening or a random Tuesday a year later, the operational plan will help to show the staff and the management team what direction they should be heading.

If you are interested in developing a mixed-use project around a sports facility and are looking for help or guidance in any stage of the process, then let us help you. The Sports Facilities Companies has knowledgeable experts that can help with anything from the early concept development to the operational development and management of the facility. To learn more contact us or call at 727-474-3845.

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