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New Sports Complex in Corpus Christi’s Future?

An artist’s rendering of the multi-purpose sports fields to be built on the Westside of Corpus Christi next year by Next Sports Co. Company owner Dr. Kingsley Okonkwo also owns the city’s professional Football Club, the Sharks. Courtesy image

Corpus Christi might yet get a sports complex. The City Council made a deal with Next Sports Co., owned by Dr. Kingsley Okonkwo, to build a multi-purpose sports complex in two phases — the first phase to be completed in December 2021.

A previous deal with SQH Sports floundered for the last five years and was finally canceled in February.

“We have confidence in Next Sports Co.’s ability to develop their envisioned multimillion-dollar sports complex,” City Manager Peter Zanoni said at the City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20. “Company owner Dr. Kingsley Okonkwo has demonstrated a credible finance plan.”

Okonkwo also owns the city’s professional soccer team, or football club, the Corpus Christi Sharks. A local pediatrician, he said the facility would serve as the Sharks’ home field. Currently, the team plays at the Dugan Wellness Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

To be built on Old Brownsville Road near South Padre Island Drive, the facility would include eight multi-purpose fields that can be used for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, flag football, and cheerleading. Also included would be a 5,000-seat soccer stadium.

An estimated 50 full-time jobs will be needed to help organize what could be 25 youth tournaments a year. That kind of traffic is expected to fill 25,000 hotel rooms a year.

The city will provide $1.85 million in incentive funding from Type B funds, which come from sales-tax revenues. The first of two payments will be made in 2022, the second in 2023. That money will be paid only after the complex has been built and the jobs filled.

“The city’s funds will leverage over $15 million in private investment for what will be the city’s first private sector league tournament sports center,” Zanoni said.

Next Sports Co. will need to provide proof in the next 90 days that it has funding in place to build Phase I. The first of the two-phase project should be completed in December 2021; the second phase one year later. The final phase will include administrative offices, retail space, and other supporting amenities.

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