At one time it was relatively common for rich real estate developers to purchase sports teams but today, the trend is quite different. Instead, team owners are now becoming real estate developers. A prime example is Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning team. Currently, he has plans to redevelop a portion of Tampa’s downtown waterfront district.
As reported in the Tampa Bay Times, Vinik plans to develop a three million square foot commercial real estate property on 25 acres that sits between the Selmon Expressway and Amalie Arena that was assembled for years. Backed by Cascade Investment LLC, one of Bill Gates’ investment vehicles, the plan will ultimately cost $1.07 billion.
The number of sports team owners moving into development specifically for entertainment and mixed-use projects is increasing but dependent on a recovering economy and improving tax base, as well as higher demand by sports fans for more luxurious facility options.
Magnificently built stadiums used by NFL teams lead the way. From 2008 to 2010, only three professional football stadiums were built to include Dallas’ AT&T Stadium, New York’s MetLife Stadium, and Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. Besides the Levi Stadium built in Santa Clara California in 2014 for the San Francisco 49ers, no other stadiums have been developed.
Now, several new stadiums are being built to include those for the following NFL teams:
- Atlanta Falcons - $1 billion
- Buffalo Bills - $1.4 billion
- Minnesota Vikings - $1 billion
- San Diego Chargers - $1 billion
Although NFL stadiums are at the top of the list, there is also growing interest in soccer stadiums. For instance, in Washington DC, a $150 million contribution for acquiring land and building a $300 million Major League Soccer stadium was recently approved. The stadium will be called Buzzard Point and designed by a top architect to seat up to 25,000 fans. To support this stadium, nearby property will also be developed. Both of these new properties are scheduled to open sometime in 2017.
Other Commercial Real Estate Developments
In conjunction with the development of football and soccer stadiums, a number of major commercial real estate projects are also in the works. A few examples of these developments include:
- City of Champions – In addition to the development of a new Rams Stadium in Inglewood, California, the plan is to add office, retail, hotel, and even residential space that is scheduled for 2018 at a cost of $100 million
- Downtown East – To be developed close to the Vikings Stadium in Minneapolis to include retail, office, and multifamily space scheduled for January of 2016 for $400 million
- City Place – Located in Santa Clara, California, this property will include hotels, restaurants, condominiums, and 1.1 million square feet of office space for $6.5 million
- SunTrust Park – Being developed by Cobb County and the Atlanta Braves, $672 million will cover the cost of a stadium, as well as retail, hotel, office, and residential space, and several restaurants to open in 2017.