Perfect Game USA, which boasts that it’s the world’s largest baseball and softball scouting enterprise, has chosen Cedar Park for its new headquarters, bypassing Hutto, where it previously announced it would build a massive sports tourism, office and entertainment complex.
PG Cedar Park Group LLC — an affiliate of Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Perfect Game Inc. — on Sept. 23 was unanimously approved by Cedar Park City Council for incentives in exchange for plans to invest $4 million in a 15,000-square foot office complex, 16 turf fields and commercial space on a 112-acre tract near the corner of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and East New Hope Drive.
“We believe this will be a grand slam for Cedar Park,” Ben White, the city’s director of economic development, said during the Council meeting. “Cedar Park was chosen after a national search and we are thrilled to be able to have them in our starting lineup. One could say Cedar Park hit their sweet spot when looking for what a community could provide them.”
The agreement will provide Perfect Game with a $200,000 grant once the company occupies the site from the city’s Economic Development Sales Tax Corporation. The City’s Community Development Sales Tax Corporation, which purchased the land, will lease 80 acres for 20 years at a reduced rate, while Perfect Game will purchase the remaining 30 acres for commercial space.
The project — nicknamed Project Closer in city documents — is expected to create 40 jobs with an average salary of $65,000, with an additional 127 full-time equivalent positions. In addition to the office space, the facility will have 25,000 square feet of retail space, 25,000 square feet of restaurant space, a hotel with at least 300 rooms and fields open for community use a minimum of 25 days a year.
The site is expected to attract 500,000 to 750,000 annual visitors, resulting in 60,000-plus room nights in the first year and around 150,000 room nights by the 10th year. The complex is expected to generate $20 million in revenue over 10 years as Perfect Game hosts events, tournaments and showcases. Construction of the facility is expected to start June 1, 2022 and be completed by March 1, 2024.
“Economic vitality is one of our city council’s strategic goals, and this partnership with Perfect Game literally hits it out of the park,” Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale said in a statement. “This project with the leading baseball and softball scouting organization in the country will generate more than $20 million in new net revenue to the city of Cedar Park and will attract an entire new economy that expands employment and business opportunities for decades to come.”
Change of plans
The agreement ultimately closes the door on the company’s previous plans to build an $800 million mixed-use development in Hutto, another suburb of Austin in Williamson County. Disagreements with the city of Hutto and a previous developer behind the project resulted in a lawsuit, according to Community Impact. At the time, the facility was expected to open for Memorial Day 2021.
In a statement, Allison Strupeck, a Hutto spokeswoman, said the city is “excited about the announcement” that Perfect Game is moving forward with the project in Cedar Park.
“In 2019, Hutto had planned to partner with Perfect Game to jointly develop a large-scale project including baseball fields and multi-use amenities in Hutto. As plans progressed it became clear the project was not in the city’s best interest at that time,” the statement said. “This project will positively impact Williamson County, which is on the rise in the region. Hutto is excited to be part of this regional economic development that benefits all of our communities.”
It’s another injection of jobs and commercial space for Cedar Park, which is about 16 miles northwest of Austin. Cedar Park had 77,595 residents in 2020, up from 48,937 in 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. That growth has attracted a slew of corporate relocations and expansions, including Hyliion Holdings Corp., which plans to grow to 500 as part of a headquarters expansion; Firefly Aerospace Inc., which recently launched its first rocket and will add nearly 700 jobs by 2020; and direct-to-garment printing company 240 Tech LLC, which will add 35 jobs by 2025.
White said during the meeting that the Perfect Game deal came together over the past year. Perfect Game is partnering with Austin Capital Advisors LLC as the developer behind the project. Sports Facilities Companies is managing the site.
“As a local resident in Central Texas myself, I am excited to be the master developer of this project,” Austin Capitol Advisors principal Josh Sanders said in a statement. “I commend the ability of Cedar Park’s leadership to possess the vision and strategic goals to facilitate the many local economic impacts and community-related benefits this project will generate for the city of Cedar Park and its community is astounding.”
Perfect Game President Jerry Ford said Central Texas was the organization’s preferred destination, and they are excited it ultimately ended up in Cedar Park.
“We believe that Cedar Park’s leadership shares our vision and goals for not only the games of baseball and softball, but the community as well,” Ford said. “This project will benefit the community through the large local economic impact Perfect Game delivers by hosting best-in-class tournaments and related activities that attract hundreds of thousands of families from across the United States.”
The development will be located on 112 acres purchased by the city’s tax corporation that was previously owned by the Krienke family, who White called “pillars of the community” as they have been involved in the area since before the city was incorporated in 1973. He said the family was looking to sell but wanted assurance that the project would not be a generic single-family or office-style development, and that they’ll be honored with their names incorporated into the baseball complex.
“They have been stewards of the land on this site,” White said. “They wanted a legacy project for their family at this site. … They wanted something their family could be a part of.”