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Soccer complex proposed in O’Fallon

The isolated Regal Cinemas movie theatre off Caledonia Drive in O’Fallon may be getting some company in the near future.

At a meeting on July 14, the O’Fallon City Council introduced legislation for the initial plans of a soccer complex located at the intersection of Highway DD, Caledonia Drive and the eastbound on-ramp of Interstate 40.

The proposed complex would include four outdoor turf soccer fields, a future clubhouse with restaurant and sand volleyball courts.

The council gave two pieces of legislation first reading: a rezoning of the property from High Tech Corridor District to C-2 General Business District, and a conditional use ordinance to allow Missouri Rush Soccer Club to operate a recreational facility at the location. The legislation will return before the council on July 28 for final approval.

The first phase of the project, including the soccer fields, will take up 12.91 acres – the complete development will encompass approximately 30 acres. William Laskowsky, with M Property Services – the project’s developer – said the plan is to bring in commercial developments following the construction of the soccer fields and clubhouse. While specific developments aren’t yet being discussed, Laskowsky said uses could include hotels, a convenience store, restaurants and an urgent care facility.

The only current development on the property is the Regal Cinemas movie theater.

Laskowsky said, assuming the council approves the legislation on second reading, construction on the fields could begin in August or September. The clubhouse will come next, he added. During his presentation to the council, Laskowsky said it takes about 60-90 days to build turf soccer fields.

During the July 7 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Mike Soots, the president of the Missouri Rush Soccer Club, spoke about his club’s needs. Soots said Rush currently represents around 2000 kids in the St. Louis market, compared to the 350 kids it started with.

“As you can imagine, growing from 350 to 2000 participants, sustainable growth has been an issue for us, and we are looking for a home,” Soots said.

Soots said Rush was offered a home over in Maryland Heights, but he said that since the club is a St. Charles County club and the families and kids live in the St. Charles area, Rush sees the proposed O’Fallon complex as a “huge opportunity” to keep the kids in their own communities.

Soots said the first phase of the project could accommodate between 1,000-1,200 kids.

Also speaking at the July 7 P&Z meeting was Dave Thorman from Game On Sports Development, who was representing Global Sports Inc. [GSI], the tournament operator lined up for the proposed development.

Thorman said GSI uses a “play and stay” model, meaning when someone comes to play in a tournament facility, they must stay in a hotel the tournament organizer directs them to. Thorman said this is important for O’Fallon because it would allow the facility to fill hotel rooms in the city first and foremost. Thorman said tournament participants need a place to eat and sleep, and they like to spend money.

“You guys are going to be, I think, pleasantly surprised by the amount of regional traffic that comes from this facility,” Thorman said.

City Administrator Bonnie Therrien said the tract of land in question has been vacant for over 12 years.

Councilmember John Haman [Ward 3], whose ward the development falls in, said he’s “thrilled about it.” Haman said a new development there would help the Regal Cinema’s theater and help bring more restaurant and hotel traffic into the city.

“This development is going to draw people in there, it’s going to make it look alive, it’s going to stimulate some economic development down that side,” Haman said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

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