The Development Authority of Bartow County approved an item Monday morning that would set the 2019 LakePoint Land Indoor Pavilion budget at approximately $1.8 million.
“As an authority, we are required to approve their budget,” said H. Boyd Pettit III, legal counsel for the Authority. “That process goes through Peter Olson at the County … they reviewed and looked at the proposed budget for this year, their operating expenses, and then we provided a notice to the bond holder in connection with those bonds at Regions Bank that the budget had been reviewed.”
Bartow County Administrator Peter Olson said the budget includes about $1.85 million in projected revenue and about $1.67 million in projected expenses.
“They send us the budget every year for the next year, based on their experience in the prior year, so this budget looks realistic,” he said. “They’re still on the ramp-up in terms of trying to get where we would like to be, but they’re doing all the right things out there.”
The Authority signed off on a $36 million bond several years ago to get the Champions Center constructed. As of mid-2018, the County still had about $6 million remaining on debt services for that bond.
Last year, the County entered into an agreement for LakePoint Indoor Pavilion, LLC to continue managing the approximately 170,000-square-foot facility.
Among other possible projects, Olson said he’s heard LakePoint management would like to build a mezzanine at the Champions Center, which could potentially be used as an overflow, multi-use space for events and activities like gymnastics.
And that’s not the only new development the massive sports complex is eying near the Champions Center, Olson added.
“One of their priorities for this year is a hotel coming out of the ground next to the indoor pavilion,” he said. “The north campus road is scheduled to be finished by the end of May … but I think they’re due some rain days, let me put it that way.”
Without divulging the specifics, Olson said LakePoint’s management definitely has a master plan in mind for north campus development.
“They’re executing a separate change order that they’re going to fund for over $1 million of additional grading work at the north end, right where they made the big cut into Red Top,” he said. “They want to take down, I guess it’s the east side, and make more developable pads there. So they’re looking hard at the next phases.”
California-based hedge fund manager Rimrock Capital obtained legal ownership of LakePoint Land’s assets and property in 2016. LakePoint Land, LLC and seven of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, with debt restructuring efforts completed on Dec. 21.
Olson said that Rimrock may be on the verge of dropping some major news about its leadership.
“They haven’t announced it yet, but they’ve told us they’re lining up a new sort of higher profile CEO, that’s going to help be the public face of the project,” he said. “So there are lots of good things going on there.”
The Authority also approved a $250,000 Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) grant for Rumi Realty I, LLC, which is connected to the $30 million, 647,000-square-foot Loloi, Inc. distribution center nearing completion in northeast Bartow.
“We previously had an opportunity for a grant in connection with Loloi Rugs, and if you’re familiar with that project, it’s located up at Cass-White Road right at I-75, sort of the southwest corner would be the best way to describe it,” Pettit said. “We had originally approved a grant for them in connection with construction of some infrastructure. After review, the Department of Community Affairs and [the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development (CBCDOED)] came back with a recommendation that the REBA grant be transferred to cover steel racking equipment.”
Four competitive bids came in for the proposal, with Beijing Home Interiors Co. Ltd. selected as the grant recipient.
“This facilitates the timeline and the proper protocol that the State had outlined with the change of purpose of the grant,” said CBCDOED Executive Director Melinda Lemmon.
The meeting concluded with the Authority approving a funding request from Lemmon.
“In good years, we break even and put a little savings away, but in terms of last year and the way things are going forward, we had some surprises, financially,” she said. “It would be a huge help if [when] you all would do a bond issuance with [a] company, if there’s an opportunity for you all to share some part of that with the department to help cover our costs, that’s what we’re humbly asking.”
The CBCDOED, which is attached to the Bartow-Cartersville Joint Development Authority (JDA), receives about $173,000 in funding each year from both the city and county governments. Monday, the Authority approved a new funding mechanism for the department, which would see approximately a quarter of the fees paid to the Authority redistributed to the JDA to help offset some of its operating expenses.
"For example, if the Authority fee on a $20 million project was $25,000, then $6,250 — or one-fourth of that — would go to the joint authority," Pettit said.