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Hamburg takes another step forward on sportsplex

Hamburg Town Board members moved forward on a recreational complex when they approved an agreement with a Toronto developer Monday night.

Unlike previous meetings, all three board members were on the same page, and unanimously approved the contract with Sportstar Capital to study the feasibility, prepare a financial analysis and acquire the property for the sportsplex, which has been estimated to cost $25 million to $30 million.

“That’s not the development of the project, that’s the study to see if the project is worthwhile,” Councilman Thomas Best Jr. said.

A similar action was planned for July 1, but no meeting took place, and board members disagreed on whether the meeting had been canceled or not.

The town is planning a $25 million to $30 million sports facility with twin ice rinks, field house, gyms, pro shop, restaurant and snack bar in a public-private partnership.

Should all of the services outlined in the contract be undertaken, but the town decides not to go forward with the project, it would have to pay Sportstar a total of $145,000.

That includes $110,000 for a demographic analysis, $15,000 for a feasibility and financial analysis, and $20,000 to secure a letter of intent to buy the property, according to the agreement.

The two sides have discussed creating a development corporation to own the property, and the development corporation would contract with Sportstar to develop the project, according to Supervisor Steven J. Walters and the agreement.

The agreement also notes that the town is to pay Sportstar for prior services, but it does not say what those are, nor how much the town is to pay the company.

Sportstar has agreed to negotiate and finance the acquisition of land that the town deems suitable, and a refundable deposit is to be paid by the town to secure the property.

“Once funding is in place the town will retrieve its refund and Sportstar will arrange the purchase of the property,” a letter from Sportstar president Marty Starkman states.

The letter also says the consultant preparing the feasibility study will work directly with a representative designated by the town.

Sportstar also will solicit project bids from at least three general contracting firms or construction management firms in the Buffalo area to establish estimates for the project.

The town has the ability to cancel the agreement at any time, and pay Sportstar for any work that has been completed.

There are no deadlines in the agreement, but Supervisor Steven Walters said the company is ready to start work Wednesday.

“The organization has stated they are ready to hit the ground floor running,” he said. “They should be reaching out to local youth organizations this week and next.”

Walters said he expects Sportstar to deliver a significant report by mid-August.

“This will allow us to hold a public meeting where the public can come forth, view the project in its entirety, and provide comments,” he said.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com

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