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Hamburg sportsplex land purchase is near, developer says

A developer of a proposed sportsplex in Hamburg said Monday he is “very close” to securing property for the center that could cost $25 million to $30 million.

But Marty Starkman, president of Sportstar Capital of Toronto, did not say where that property is located.

“I’d like to move forward with the land,” he told the Hamburg Town Board during its work session Monday. “We’re in discussions, it’s very close.”

The town contracted with Sportstar to study the feasibility, prepare a financial analysis and acquire the property for the sportsplex. The Town Board would have to approve each step of the process, starting with the feasibility study that looks into the demand for sports facilities and demographics of the area.

There is enough demand to build a sportsplex in Hamburg, Sportstar officials told Town Board members.

“Hamburg has enough population and demand to construct a twin ice sheet, four to six basketball courts and a FIFA regulation-sized indoor turf field,” the developers’ draft report said.

Starkman and Tom Hillgrove, president of Rink Management Services Corp. of Mechanicsville, Va., briefed the board on the feasibility study the two companies are completing on the sportsplex. They said they have talked to representatives of a number of local sports clubs and teams that might use the facility.

“I think it’s crucial we get the Hawks on board,” Town Board Member Tom Best Jr. said of the Hamburg Hawks hockey club.

The Hawks rent about 1,100 hours of ice time at the town’s Nike Base, and could rent as much as $2,500 at the new facility, Hillgrove said. He said there are about 2,000 hours of prime time ice available at one rink in a year.

“We understand the Hawks are critical,” he said.

Hillgrove said the data is in for the feasibility study, which is looking into the availability of ice and turf fields, pricing, and demographics of the area. The final report should be ready by the board’s Sept. 12 meeting, he said.

“I think there is a big consensus here that ice is in demand,” Hillgrove said.

It’s possible that only one rink would be open in the summer, and the turf field might be closed because teams want to play outdoors, he said.

Starkman said once he secures the land and the feasibility study is finished, he will contact an architect and contractors for pricing on construction. Those figures may be available by the end of September or beginning of October, he said.

Supervisor Steven J. Walters said building renderings would be made once the feasibility study and business plan are completed and the land is secured through a letter of intent. Then there would be a public meeting for residents.

If the public feedback is positive and board members approve, more detailed plans would be drawn for the town Planning Board to consider, possibly by the end of the year.

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

email: bobrien@buffnews.com

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