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The Quad Cities sports landscape and economy are about to undergo a drastic change. That change will be spurred by a $75 million project that will bring more ballfields, a three-level golf entertainment facility, a new hotel and much more to an area near the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf. “This project puts us not only on the regional stage, but also on the national stage,” Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, said about the new sports/commercial project after developers formally introduced it last month. The massive project – unveiled publicly at a Feb. 16 news conference at the sports complex at 4850 Competitive Drive – is expected to begin construction April 1 and be completed by the end of 2023. Middle & Forest Grove LLC and FG80 LLC are partnering on the new project to be built east of Middle Road and north of Forest Grove Drive and near the four-year-old TBK Bank Sports Complex. (Middle & Forest Grove will develop a golf entertainment facility as part of the project. It includes investors Ryan Hintze, Ben Logsdon, Kevin Koellner and Doug Kratz, developer of the sports complex. FG80, which includes Mr. Koellner, is developing the remainder of the new development.) According to Mr. Herrell, the TBK expansion is expected to bring in millions of dollars and tourists, and even attract new residents to the Quad Cities. He said the project could bring in $250 million in direct economic impact and more than 5.8 million visitor days to the Quad Cities over the next 10 years. And he believes those numbers are based on conservative estimates. “Sports tourism is a driving force of our economic recovery through tourism, future growth and brand visibility,” Mr. Herrell added. “It is a competitive environment, but one that we need to be in because it has the ability to weather uncertainty and build civic pride.” QC-wide economic impact Dave Stow, president and CEO of the TBK Bank Sports Complex, also sees the expansion project as being a great driving force in the community. In addition to bringing in more money and people to the QC region, the expansion will make the sports complex the one-stop destination for everything to do with sports tourism. Visitors will be able to play on sports fields, eat at nearby restaurants and stay at nearby hotels, he added “Everybody is going to be looking at us. … It’s going to make it easier to organize those trips,” Mr. Stow said. TBK’s past success He is especially optimistic about the sports complex’s future because of its recent past. During the pandemic, the sports complex was incredibly popular with thousands of people who were looking to get out of their homes and get active, he said. “We really allowed the community to breathe again. People knew this was a safe place,” Mr. Stow said. The most recent economic numbers seem to support that view. Here are 2021 figures provided by the City of Bettendorf for the sports complex and The Plex commercial area, adjacent to TBK:
- 1.5 million visits to the TBK Sports Complex (587,378 visitor days spent in the QC.)
- More than $1.2 million in sales tax on site. (This does not include sales tax revenue yielded by the site throughout the QC.)
- More than $150,000 in hotel/motel tax generated at the nearby Cambria Hotel alone.
- More than $25 million in regional tourism and economic impact in the QC.
- The total development will cover 109 acres of property east of Middle Road and north of Forest Grove Drive with about 75 acres to be developed in this phase.
- The project will include two synthetic turf multi-use fields – sized to accommodate two collegiate/high school sized baseball fields as well as eight youth baseball/softball fields or four full-sized soccer fields with lighting for night activities and parking.
- The project will create at least 100 jobs, not including construction jobs.
- Plans also include a restaurant, bar, meeting and entertainment areas, along with related parking.
- A 16-acre site, owned by FG80 Holdings LLC, is slated to include a hotel with at least 80 rooms, a commercial strip center and a convenience store. It is part of the 109-acre development area.