After years of planning and fundraising, the Bluhawk sports complex in south Overland Park is set to finally break ground Wednesday.
The indoor facility, the official name of which has yet to be announced, will cover 20,000 square feet and include basketball, volleyball and pickle ball courts. The space will also feature an indoor turf, several batting cages and an ice rink.
The facility is designed to seat 3,500 spectators.
Costing $125 million, the multi-sport complex plans to offer fitness classes and family activities. The complex will rest on the 277-acre wide Bluhawk development, owned by Price Brothers Management Company.
Bart Lowen, vice president of development for Price Brothers, said the facility has been a “long time coming.”
The complex was conceptualized about eight years ago, Lowen said, and experienced various challenges and alterations since the idea’s genesis. He expects the facility to be a major asset for the area, especially with restaurants and markets sitting on the same stretch of land as the sports complex.
“Right outside the front door of the sports facility, shopping, eating and dining opportunities,” Lowen said. “It’s all right here.”
While Price Brothers is celebrating now, the project has seen its fair share of setbacks. Area residents opposed a larger vision in 2018, which centered around semi-professional sports. The concept shrunk in half and shifted focus to family-centered activities after neighbors dissented.
Lowen said the pandemic further strained funds and delayed construction. Last year, Kansas approved $70 million in incentives for the complex days before state laws tightened. The funds were provided through STAR bonds, originally designed to draw tourists.
Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill in April 2021, implementing stricter standards to STAR bond recipients. At the time, the Bluhawk complex rivaled a proposed hockey arena in Olathe. The Olathe project, however, did not receive state incentives.
Despite the hiccups, Price Brothers is looking forward to sharing the complex’s amenities with Kansas City and beyond.
“This is a regional, if not national, draw,” Lowen said. “If you look at the site plan and try to find another project like Bluhawk … You don’t see that today.”
Once it opens in the fall of 2024, the complex is expected to draw $3.8 million yearly to the local economy, according to a release from Price Brothers.
Construction of the sports complex will take place in two phases, Lowen said. The first stage involves the construction of an ice rink, several basketball courts, batting cages and concessions. In its first phase, the facility will scale 250,000 square feet.
The second construction phase will include another rink, a turf field the size of a football field and additional basketball courts. Lowen said he couldn’t give an estimate of when the future phase will be completed as it’s predicated on the issuance of additional STAR bonds.
The public is invited to the ground breaking, scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, where the name of the complex will also be announced. With the upcoming event, Price Brothers is just one step closer to unveiling the longstanding project.
“I can’t wait till we cut the ribbon on the first phase, and see the future phases coming,” Lowen said.
The Star’s Sarah Ritter contributed to this report.
Jenna Thompson: @jennavictoriat