The contract with Community Center Partners, LLC, also was scheduled to be discussed by Middletown City Council on Tuesday, with emergency legislation on their agenda. Council approved the emergency ordinance 5-0 after lengthy discussion.
City staff requested emergency approval to allow work to begin immediately on the feasibility studies, due diligence, economic structuring and preliminary design. Officials want to make a “go/no-go” decision this fall to pursue the financing, design, and construction of the sports and entertainment venue as a destination anchor to the Towne Mall redevelopment.
Middletown City Manager Jim Palenick in his staff report to council, said the contract would be for a pre-development planning, evaluation, economic structuring and design effort by Community Center Partners.
The city and its partners — the Warren County Port Authority, Warren County and the mall property owners — would use that report to make a final decision on the multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue, according to Palenick.
Last year, the city contracted RINKA to do a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Towne Mall property located just off the Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange, the city’s front door.
The total cost of the first-phase feasibility and marketing study to be conducted by Hunden and Associates Is $211,500. In addition to the county’s contribution, the city also will be contributing $73,350 plus up to $5,000 in expenses, from the city’s ARPA funds if approved by council.
Some of that work was completed and there is a hockey tournament organizer and an elite youth academy who have submitted letters of commitment. That work was pre-funded by the Warren County Port Authority, who paid the full $64,800 plus $3,000 in expenses cost of the Hunden feasibility study.
If the agencies decide to move forward, the second phase of the contract will cost another $263,500 in total, according to Palenick’s report.
The city and Warren County Port Authority would each pay $118,575 and the owners of the NAHL junior hockey franchise would pay $26,350. The total of the city’s overall total contribution if both phases are completed would cost $191,925.