The city of Lilburn today gave notice on a license fee agreement with Big League Dreams Sports Parks, a national operator of sports complexes, but also asked to extend the agreement for six months without a penalty.
The city was obligated to give notice by Feb. 13 in order to get a full refund of the $450,000 agreement, City Manager Bill Johnsa said. He's waiting to hear whether the sports complex operator will grant an extension.
Big League Dreams is talking with private investors about building a multi-use complex on land that the city would buy, about 40 acres on Indian Trail-Lilburn Road, Johnsa said. Originally, the city was considering funding the construction itself.
"It's not dead," Johnsa said of the project. "It has shifted somewhat from more of a public project to a private one."
Many in the city had spoken out against the city funding the entire cost of the project. If it can be accomplished with private funds, "That's a plus for the city," Johnsa said.
The city asked for an extension to the agreement -- which allowed Lilburn access to Big League Dreams financial data, among other things -- because "we'd like to see those agreements in place" between Big League Dreams and private investors before the agreement ends.
"We're excited about the project," Johnsa said, adding that all studies say it would be successful financially, bringing not only sports fields but restaurants, shops and hotels.
"This would be the catalyst for the redevelopment of the city," Johnsa said.
City Council last month approved expanding the Downtown Development Authority's boundaries so that it could buy a parcel of land from the county on Indian Trail-Lilburn Road as part of the project.