It was a lucky Friday the 13th of May with the grand opening of the $27 million Seminole County Sports Complex in Sanford.
The offerings of the complex are vast, boasting 102 acres of land and 15 fields on which youth baseball, football, soccer and lacrosse tournaments will be played. The complex is owned by Seminole County and supported both directly and indirectly through its operations.
In an exclusive interview with a Seminole County government official, FORWARD Florida has discovered some intriguing aspects of the complex and explores how they can bolster the economy in Central Florida. The complex will be supported using money that it in turn brings to the local area through a “bed tax” it charges guests in local hotels.
“The complex is being built using bed-tax money, which is paid by people who come to Seminole County from another area and pay to stay in a hotel. Currently there is a bed-tax fund of about $10 million that has been accumulated over the years but the actual financing of the complex was done issuing debt in bonds with a very low interest rate,” the official stated.
Also in a positive development, the complex has already signed deals with clients that amount to more than twice the original forecasted revenue. This all came months before the facility was even finished being built. As discussed:
“The complex was originally conceived to have $12 million to $20 million in economic impact per year, however with the 40 events that have been booked at the complex between May and December of this year, the estimated economic impact of those events within this time span is projected to be more than $40 million. That money goes straight into the pockets of our businesses, hotels, retail stores, gas stations and wherever the visitors go.”
Thus, the originally forecasted revenue generated during an entire year of the complex’s operations are actually half what the complex has in pre-signed deals during its first seven months of operation. The additional economic impact should benefit the local economy in various ways, including alleviating some of the property tax pressure on local residents by virtue of the larger tax base.
The additional money coming in presents new opportunities for local businesses and new hotels to be built to accommodate the rising demand for their services: “Hotel occupancy has gone up dramatically in Seminole County in recent years. We anticipate that there will be new hotels to be built in Seminole as a result of the complex,” the official stated.
With a newly minted recreation option and a strong economic impact, it looks like Seminole County just swept a doubleheader.