Sports complex set for Butler County
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A proposed indoor athletics complex could anchor a new commercial corridor in Buffalo Township, Butler County's redevelopment director said.
The partners in The Sports Exhibition Center last week signed an agreement to buy 71 acres of farmland in Buffalo the southeast corner of the county.
The 200,000-square-foot facility would feature amenities such as an all-season baseball/softball field, two indoor soccer/lacrosse fields, three basketball courts that could double as an in-line skating rink, and eight to 12 batting cages.
The project fits into the township's plan to encourage commercial construction along a portion of Route 356, said Perry O'Malley, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Butler. "This complex should help jump-start the corridor," he said.
Commercial development along Route 356 between Routes 28 and 228 could help boost the township's tax base, making it easier for the rest of the municipality to remain rural, Mr. O'Malley said. The tract under agreement is owned by Risch Estate heirs. Located at the intersection of Routes 356 and 228, the land is about one mile southwest of Sarver. No purchase price was released.
Project partners are Michael DeRiso, of Oakmont; Richard Burkhart, of Penn Hills; and Dennis Cochran, of the Natrona neighborhood of Harrison.
Much of the complex's second floor would be a 35,000-square-foot concession area. The upper story also will include multiple vantage points for watching first-floor activities, according to Mr. DeRiso, TSEC's founding and managing partner. In addition to the more than four acres of enclosed playing fields, the complex would have at least two outdoor soccer/lacrosse fields and four baseball/softball fields. Phase II of the project would involve lighting, artificial turf and larger grandstands for at least one outdoor fields.
Southwestern Pennsylvania is home to several smaller-scale complexes, such as Robert Morris University's sports center on Neville Island. The closest facilities similar to the one planned for Butler County are the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, with almost 750,000 square feet of indoor sports areas; and the 127,000-square-foot United Sports training center in Chester County.
Mr. DeRiso predicted there would be more than enough tournaments, charity events, training and scholastic business to keep what he called a "trifecta" of sports centers busy.
He said he had been in contact with officials from one local school district to discuss how their student athletes could use the complex.
"We're talking about how we can be partners and do things together," he said.
The partners are looking both for athletic endorsements and for possible corporate sponsorship of the complex in return for naming rights, Mr. DeRiso said.
Continental Building Systems would be the general contractor for the project and Stantec Architecture and Engineering is to provide design services. The facility would be managed by an outside company.
The construction schedule calls for indoor facilities and some outdoor fields to be completed by October 2013. Mr DeRiso declined to provide a cost estimate for the project.
The partners have met with Buffalo Township officials but have not submitted plans or sought any approvals. They have six months to do core samples and other "due diligence" tests and reviews at the site.
First Published May 31, 2012 5:18 am