Game On plans sports megaplex in Tega Cay

Tega Cay is getting its Game On.

City leaders gave initial approval Monday night for a sports and entertainment proposal from Game On Development, one the Mooresville, N.C., company believes will change the sports landscape of the city and beyond.

“Our goal is to create a lifestyle for the Carolinas,” said Brad Ceraolo with Game On. “We see the demand and the need, truly for a community and gathering spot.”

The project involves more than 78 acres. More than 40 acres west of Stonecrest Boulevard at Dam Road would be annexed into the city, and all of it rezoned to create the planned development.

Plans include a two-level sports facility, 14-screen theater complex, 150-room hotel and four-level parking garage. A park, medical and professional offices, retail and residential uses will be included, too.

Ceraolo further detailed plans Monday, before the city planning staff recommended and City Council gave the first of two needed votes on annexation and rezoning. The sports complex will replace a salvage yard. It will have eight basketball courts, four multipurpose fields, indoor and outdoor tennis, and Olympic size and resort-style pool, bowling and a 35,000-square-foot fitness center.

Developers talked about world-class sports training at the site, with some of the second level apartments used to bring in athletes. Apartments above commercial uses are part of the plan, as are other residential uses that haven’t been determined. An assisted living facility could be part of the plan.

“We don’t have a defined (residential) product for it,” said Mike Brown with Micamy Design Studio. “We don’t have a specific design.”

The indoor sports facility and hotel would be the first phase. New residents within the development could have Game On access, but so could anyone else on a membership basis.

“If you want to be a member, it doesn’t matter where you live,” Ceraolo said.

The city planning commission and Council offered little debate on the plan. They will work ahead of final reading to make sure the zoning and annexation decisions are a fit for the city.

“It’s an exciting concept, for sure,” said Councilwoman Dottie Hersey.

Jerry Church, chair of the planning commission, said he had to look at the plan from the resident and planning point of view. Both led to consensus Monday night.

“This is pretty exciting from a citizen point of view,” Church said.

The proposal comes at a busy time for sports in the area. Tega Cay is planning for Catawba Park, a massive waterfront effort that could cost $10 million and solve city recreation demand concerns for years.

The Fort Mill School District asked York County for money to help build fields near one end of Fort Mill Parkway for tournament play, and voters in the district approved money in the most recent school bond for an aquatic center. Fort Mill town officials are planning for a new recreation site to replace the Complex on the Greenway when the town lease expires there in coming years.

Residents in Lake Wylie will vote Nov. 8 on whether to tax themselves through a special tax district to build a new 50-acre sports complex on Crowders Creek.

Several of those projects rely on tourism, the idea that building fields will draw outside dollars to help pay back initial investment costs. Most all the projects asked for or received some type of hospitality tax money, which has to go to tourism-generating projects.

By John Marks, Staff Reporter with The Fort Mill Times