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County sports authority lacks funding to take action as A-Game hits the auction block next week


County sports authority lacks funding to take action as A-Game hits the auction block next week

By BROOKE WANSER

Once a local jewel for youth hockey and basketball, A-Game Sportsplex will go on the market for auction on Monday, Feb. 12.

After a shaky history of deals gone awry, the sports complex located at 215 Gothic Court in Franklin is being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

An open house was held Thursday for the 175,000 square foot property that will go on the market on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and end on Valentine’s Day. The opening bid is $4.25 million.

Some have pointed out that the venue that once housed Nashville Predators open practices and events would be a logical purchase for the newly formed Williamson County Sports Authority.

Mayor Rogers Anderson said he and the sports authority had been informed of the auction by the owners of A-Game, but were not prepared to purchase a property. “We’re still trying to form our strategic planning and what that involves,” he said.

“It’s a good location, but we’re not at that point where we can buy it and just sit on it,” Anderson said of the property. “You don’t buy a house and then try to figure out how to pay for it.”

Richard Herrington, the Sports Authority’s chair and chief executive officer of Franklin Synergy Bank, echoed Anderson’s ethos.

“It does frustrate me that we can’t address the A-Game situation, because I think there is potential for the community, the timing’s not right,” Herrington said. “We’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to do what we’re going to do,” as a sports board.

In 2016, the ice infrastructure was torn out of A-Game, paving the way for future office space, spearheaded by real estate company Al. Neyer. The plan was for the property to evolve into a corporate campus with MARS Petcare as a tenant.

But according to nearby Franklin Fieldhouse owner Trigg Wilkes, the company pulled out due to legal entanglements with other sports clubs. Since May of 2017, the property has been on the market.

The county has felt the recent push to be a youth sports destination after a sports feasibility study was conducted in 2016 by Chicago-based firm Hunden Strategic Partners.

According to the report, A-Game’s initial closure displaced 32 sporting events and more than 17,000 hotel room nights in the county.

The desire to draw those athlete-tourists is appealing, and has the sports authority contemplating Hunden’s proposal to build a $61 million sports park. Meanwhile, the city is discussing plans for a park, geared toward youth football and lacrosse, in the southeast of town.

With A-Game, it’s a matter of bad timing, said Herrington.

“I’d love for us to buy it somehow,” he said. “But if you don’t have any money, you can’t buy something.”

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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