HAZELWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A Hazelwood youth sports complex is one step closer to becoming a reality after St. Louis County voted to set aside $6 million in hotel tax revenue to help fund the project.

POWERplex is designed to be a massive, $55 million youth sports complex that will take the place of the old St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood.

Upon completion, the campus will offer five turf ballfields, a 2,200 seat softball and Little League Stadium, a softball/baseball training area, 22 indoor volleyball courts, 6 indoor volleyball training center courts, 8 beach volleyball courts, 10 pickle-ball courts, 4 badminton courts, 3 wood basketball courts, 6 three-on-three basketball courts and a dance and cheer competition space, which is scheduled to be completed in phase two.

Also included in phase two is a large dome, which will include three indoor turf fields. It is slated to be complete in 2022.

"What's beautiful about this campus is the space is so enormous and so ready to develop," said Dan Buck, president of Big Sports Properties. "We don't have much concrete work, steel work, it's really about new fixtures, new furniture, new sports equipment and we're ready to go. Even the construction window is short, we only need about seven months from the day we start to the day we're open."

Last fall, the development group put a volleyball training facility within the old Circuit City store at the mall, as well as, a baseball and softball training facility located within the old Sears outlet. The courts and turf fields are used by both student athletes and adults.

POWERplex is projected to bring in$ 2.9 million annually and officials with the City of Hazelwood are excited about the prospect of an increase in traffic through the area.

"What makes this site unique is its self contained, but people are going to get off the highway first, eat in our other restaurants, stop at our gas stations and browse our stores here in Hazelwood and all of North County," said Matt Zimmerman, the city manager with the City of Hazelwood. 

Developers were counting on the $6 million pledge from the county to help bring private investors back to the table, many of which backed out of the project last March as a result of the coronavirus.

"To be able to demonstrate to other financing partners, the governmental support, the city of Hazelwood, the county of St. Louis...I think is really important to getting there," said Zimmerman.

St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder, a member of the 6-1 vote to approve the funding, said the complex is the region's way out of the pandemic.

"We need this business, we have to dig out of the businesses we've lost and the opportunities that have been done away with because of COVID, especially in the hospitality arena," said Harder.

Harder said he's hopeful the council will do whatever is necessary to ensure COVID-19 restrictions do not hinder the developers ability to begin construction on the site.

Buck said closing on the property, as well as COVID-19 restrictions on capacity and youth sports will largely determine when work can start.

"We can't open at 50 percent, that's just not going to work," Buck said. "So, once it looks like COVID is in the rearview mirror, we're excited to get started."

Buck said if all goes as planned, phase one of construction will be complete and doors will be open by Christmas. 

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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