Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Two Companies Submit Proposals For Potential Regional Sports Complex

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JAMES CITY –Two companies appear interested in being involved in a proposed regional sports complex that is gaining momentum in Greater Williamsburg.

After canceling its June meeting, the Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority has one next scheduled for July 13. During the meeting, members of the organization plan to hear details regarding the two unsolicited bids for the regional sports complex.

The Historic Triangle Recreational Facilities Authority was formed in 2021 and consists of representatives from James City County, York County, and the City of Williamsburg. The three jurisdictions are exploring the possibility of joining forces on a regional sports complex, which may be located on the campus of the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center.

Scott Stevens, the county administrator for James City and vice chair of the authority, expects the two companies that submitted proposals to make presentations at the July meeting. However, he’s not sure how much of the meeting will be open to the public.

“It’d be nice if, at least, we can let them share a concept because what they submit, some of it’s confidential and some of it’s not,” he said. “We haven’t worked through all the logistics, but there’s not much more than that, at this point for the authority.”

The two companies that have submitted proposals are W.M. Jordan and MEB General Contractors. The authority also received a bid to manage the facility, but that did not involve construction. Stevens doesn’t know a lot about either company, but what he does know is positive.

“They’re both good companies,” he said. “I think that the reputation of what I know and have heard about them, they are certainly groups that could do it and have the capacity to do it.”

That doesn’t mean one of those will be selected.

“I don’t think we’re committed yet to choosing one or the other,” Stevens said.

One of the first things the authority needs to do, he said, is see if the proposals cover the needs. The facility is slated to be built on a tract of land next to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors Center. The plan is for a sports facility large enough for 12 indoor basketball courts, which can be converted to 24 volleyball courts or 36 pickleball courts. The facility should be, at a minimum, 160,000 square feet and include seating options, along with office space, multi-purpose rooms, concessions, a kitchen, a mezzanine level, and storage.

After viewing the proposals, Stevens expects a lot of back-and-forth between the authority and the companies.

“I think we’re doing the part of the analysis of is either of these close to what we want?” he said. “As I understand, we can pick ideas out about them we like. We can send it back to both and say, here are the parts of each of your proposals we like. Now give us a proposal that does just those things.”

The three localities have been discussing the possibility of a shared indoor sports facility for more than eight years. The authority was formed last year through a grant by the City of Williamsburg and awarded to the Williamsburg Area Hotel and Motel Association. The members of the authority are chair Andrew Trivette (Williamsburg City Manager); vice chair Stevens; secretary Neil Morgan (York County Administrator); Robbi Hutton (Williamsburg Parks and Recreation Department Director), John Carnifax (James City County Parks and Recreation Department Director) and Brian Fuller (York County Community Services Director).

No timelines have been discussed because there’s still a lot up in the air. Stevens is hoping a decision on what to do will be made in August or September.

“I expect in their presentations, we would have some timeline built in,” he said. “And once a decision is made, it’s blank months before you’re breaking ground, and so many more months before you’re in.”

His priority, as well as the authority’s, is to make sure it’s worth doing.

“I know we all are anxious to get started,” he said. “But the first step still is who’s going to do it, and what’s it going to cost, and to make sure it makes good financial sense for us as localities.”

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