The City of Edmond has canceled an agreement signed 10 years ago with Summit Sports Partners LLC and other developers to build an indoor sports complex on the northeast corner of the intersection at I-35 and Covell Road, but the city is still committed to building a similar complex, city attorney Stephen Murdock told the Edmond City Council at a meeting Monday.
“The parties continued to work together to move the project forward, but unfortunately it did not come to fruition,” Murdock said. “In September 2021, the city terminated their agreement and then tendered to Summit a proposed termination agreement to solve any problems that might remain.”
City officials are now in negotiations with Covell-35 Development LLC — which was involved in the agreement with Summit Sports Partners — about building a sports complex at the northwest corner of the intersection on land owned by Covell-35 Development.
“The parties are discussing the possible location and the necessary infrastructure that would be necessary,” Murdock said. “The city is also working on the development of a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the services to lease, operate and manage a proposed indoor sports complex. Once the details of the possible location can be more firmly established, the city plans to issue the RFQ, subject to the City Council’s approval, of course.”
Murdock added that city leadership is still hopeful about the project.
“The city’s commitment to move forward with the development and construction of an indoor sports complex is still ongoing,” Murdock said.
On Nov. 7, 2012, the City of Edmond signed an agreement with Summit Sports Partners, Covell-35 Development and Covell Partners in Development LLC to build a 155,000-square-foot sports complex, as well as a hotel and conference center.
Plans for the now-terminated complex included eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, two indoor soccer fields, space for fitness and personal training facilities, medical and physical therapy services, 25,000 square feet of viewing and lounge space and an area for casual dining.
Upon signing the 2012 agreement, the city spent $2 million on a 19.35-acre site for the complex and $2.2. million on a 7.13-acre tract of land for the conference center. The city spent another $3 million for infrastructure improvements and other investments in the property.
The sports complex developers agreed to pay $60,000 a year to rent the land from the city and were slated to operate the complex. Summit Sports Partners could have eventually purchased the complex from the city. Construction was supposed to begin by May 2014, and the complex was expected to open in the summer of 2015, according to the agreement.
In 2017, The Oklahoman reported that Summit Sports Partners had fallen behind on rent and was making back payments to the city in hopes that the project would move forward. However, attorney Todd McKinnis, who represents Summit Sports, said at Monday’s meeting the company was compliant on rent payments up until the agreement was terminated.
“Summit believes that a lot of the frustration with delays are mutual about whether or not they’re going to change the location of the sites — the west side versus the east side,” McKinnis said. “And it’s Summit’s position that they were ready, willing and able to fulfill their obligations under the agreement, and their only delay was waiting for the city to decide if they wanted to go ahead and move to the west side.”
Lawsuit could be in the works
Sean Jones, owner and president of Summit Sports Partners, said his company is weighing litigation against the City of Edmond over the terminated agreement.
“We have spoken with another counsel, and they’re reviewing all of the pertinent facts and trying to come up with a strategy or a plan to see whether it makes sense to litigate,” Jones said.
Jones said there reached a point in the planning process when his company was going to have to make a “substantial financial deposit” with another company to find financing for the complex, and at that time Edmond officials introduced the option to move the complex to the other side of I-35.
While Jones said he was eager to get the project finished after city officials posed the idea, he said the possible new location slowed down the process of finding a financial consulting group.
“I can’t really write a big check to a group to go out and start finding how we’re going to finance this thing and not be able to tell them what side of the highway it’s on,” Jones said.
According to Jones, Summit Sports Partners later agreed to move forward with the project with some “stipulations.”
Jones said he believed Edmond officials were getting evaluations of the land for both potential sites when the city decided to terminate the agreement.
Jones said Summit Sports Partners will be making a decision “rather soon” about whether to sue.
Regarding potential litigation from Summit Sports Partners, Bill Begley, Edmond’s marketing and pubic relations manager, provided a statement:
The City of Edmond entered a Sports Complex Development Agreement & Ground Lease on November 7, 2012, for development and construction of an Indoor Sports complex on the northeast corner of I-35 and Covell. Construction was to begin in 18 months (May 7, 2014).
The original agreements were assigned to Summit Sports Partners and rent payments began in April 2014. The City of Edmond worked with the developers for over seven years in an effort to implement the agreements, but, unfortunately, the developers were never able to even start the project.
Finally, in September 2021, the city terminated the lease and development agreement and subsequently offered Summit a proposed mutual termination agreement to resolve any open issues. The city recognizes that this was a difficult project for a private developer. Among the many ideas the city was willing to discuss with the developer to try to get the project off high center was whether a change of location would be helpful. However, the location was not the problem, and any suggestion that the city slowed down the project is simply an attempt to blame others for the developers’ own inability to perform.
OYO Hotel owners hope to turn property into affordable housing
At Monday’s meeting, Murdock also delivered an update on the OYO Hotel at 1300 E. Ayers St., which was deemed a public nuisance in January owing to health and safety code violations. Murdock reported that only four residents remain at the property, two of whom have plans to move.
“What I keep telling my clients is the same thing I keep telling you guys: We’re trying to get to zero, not just occupancy but condition of the property,” said McKinnis, who also represents the hotel.
The property has been plagued by a host of issues for years, including broken fire sprinklers and a broken elevator.
McKinnis said the owners hope to turn the property into affordable housing, which would help meet an ongoing need within Edmond. However, McKinnis said that plan is a “couple steps away.”
“The understanding I have from my clients today is that future development use will be what we call affordable housing or housing that would be available on a month-to-month or long-term lease basis,” McKinnis said.
Murdock said the property must have zero occupancy before any discussions can take place between city officials and the property owners about the future of the development.
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