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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Strike one: Brunswick County decides against financing baseball stadium

Brunswick County announced on Thursday it is no longer considering a debt issuance for a baseball stadium and mixed development project in Leland. (REV Entertainment)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Brunswick County is no longer considering a debt issuance for a baseball stadium and mixed development project proposed for Leland.

The Town of Leland, REV Entertainment Group, Jackeys Creek Investors and the county were considering a partnership to construct and own a 4,000-seat minor league baseball stadium, to be surrounded by businesses, homes, a hotel and more. Part of the proposed deal included Brunswick County taking on the responsibility for any debt issuance associated with stadium construction; it would then be leased to and managed by REV Entertainment.

READ MORE: Countywide bond off the table for Leland’s potential baseball stadium

AND: Leland puts down $30K for feasibility study on baseball stadium development

Yet, the county released a statement Thursday noting, while it “remains in a strong financial position, county leadership feels that such an investment may not be prudent for the county to take on at this time.”

The county would not answer Port City Daily’s request as to what led commissioners to this decision and what factors were weighed.

“The only information we have to share is in the media release,” spokesperson Meagan Kascsak wrote in an email.

Early numbers from the stadium’s construction costs is expected to exceed $100 million. Outside of development, there would be funds needed to put toward roadway infrastructure, water and sewer, and site preparation.

“Those costs would not be part of the County financing,” Leland spokesperson Jessica Jewell wrote in an email.

Leland is conducting a feasibility and economic impact study to learn more about what overall pricing would look like and how much revenue could be brought in from the build-out.

Jewell confirmed Leland received the news from the county just before the noon press release went out Thursday. Town leadership, she added, needs time to evaluate how to move forward to determine whether it includes Leland taking on the debt.

ALSO: Could a baseball stadium in Leland pay for itself?

According to the county, it addressed its decision with representatives at REV Entertainment and Jackeys Creek Investors, LLC also.

Jewell said REV remains committed to match development costs dollar-for-dollar to put back into the community, as announced at a forum last month.

The county noted in its release that publicity surrounding the proposed baseball stadium has “generated a lot of conversation in the county and region recently.”

From the beginning, Brunswick County’s position was against options requiring the use of existing county funds, raising property taxes, or using a general obligation bond via voter referendum. The latter was floated as an option by Leland town leaders when news first broke about the stadium in early February.

“The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners are determined that existing residents and property owners will not be asked to fund the construction of the stadium,” Thursday’s release stated.

The county maintained support in identifying other potential financing options.

“We still believe this proposed project has great merit and could potentially provide the desired entertainment, shopping and dining options our residents have asked for over the years,” Brunswick County commissioners chairman Randy Thompson said in a press release. “While Brunswick County has decided to not take on debt to finance this particular project, our staff continue to work with all parties involved to find other ways to fund this concept.”


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