Sinquefields to chip in $6M for Chesterfield sports foundation – STLtoday.com
ST. LOUIS • Two well-known St. Louis donors on Thursday committed to chipping in $6 million over the next two decades to the foundation spearheading efforts to build a youth sports complex in Chesterfield.
Jeanne Sinquefield announced the donation from her and her husband, Rex Sinquefield, to the BASE (Baseball And Softball Education) Foundation for an education hub at what is being called the POWERplex. The hub would bear the couple’s name.
“We’re happy to fund the Center for Human Development, but those are fancy words. We want to do more than sports,” Jeanne Sinquefield said. “We want to have an invention lab, teach chess and music, and you can have Scouting. You could do lots and lots of things.”
Rex Sinquefield made a fortune as an investor and has been a megadonor to conservative political causes, but he has also been a major cultural benefactor for the region.
Jeanne Sinquefield announced the couple’s link to the sports complex at an event Thursday at Ballpark Village to release new details on and donors to the project.
The Chesterfield City Council in January approved a development agreement and ground lease for the complex on land just east of the city’s Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. But the council delayed authorizing the purchase of 22 acres of the proposed project site until its developers have $23 million in financial commitments.
Work on the $55 million youth sports and education facility is slated to begin next year.
Other donations announced Thursday included a $500,000 contribution from Cardinals Care. An auction led by nonprofit executive Dan Buck raised thousands more. Buck said he believed the new facility will be “a place that will transform lives.”
The roughly 74-acre POWERplex campus would include dual sports domes, multiple turfed fields and educational facilities.
“This isn’t just a sports megaplex,” St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the project in a news release. “A major component will be the Sinquefield Center for Human Development, a state-of-the-art education facility where thousands of young athletes will receive BASE training.”
BASE is defined by the project’s backer as “a comprehensive curriculum program that teaches character and life lessons through classroom instruction using sports situations and real-life scenarios.”
An investment group led by Buck and Matheny got preliminary approval for the project in October.
Big Sports Properties LLC along with the Buck Innovation Group and the BASE Foundation are listed as the primary developers of the projects. Buck-owned Big Sports Properties will manage the property.
The first phase of complex on about 50 acres will include a 225,000-square-foot, climate-controlled dome with two fields and 12 hard courts and a 165,000-square-foot temporary dome to be used during winter months that will cover two turfed fields. There will also be a 2,500-seat stadium with three adjacent artificial turf fields.
The facility will also include office space, a hotel, restaurants, retail stores, urgent care facility, fitness center, zip lines and a climbing wall.
A second phase on the additional 24 acres is slated for 2020. Revenue from the hotel, restaurants, fitness center and other for-profit entities will fund the nonprofit athletic facilities.
Under the agreement for the project, Chesterfield will enter into a 50-year lease. First year lease payments start at $77,000 and increase to $384,000 by the 16th year. Payments after that point will be indexed to inflation.
Leaders of the project believe the facility could host up to 70 events and tournaments each year and bring 1.25 million visitors to the complex annually.
City Administrator Mike Geisel told the Post-Dispatch in January the dome and commercial complex are expected to add $450,000 in yearly revenues for the city above lease payments, $50,000 more in utility taxes, and $200,000 more in the city’s half-cent sales taxes for parks and capital improvements.