The sale of Premier Sports Campus to Manatee County officially closed Friday.
Assistant County Attorney Bill Clague shared the news via an email to commissioners around 10:30 a.m., with County Attorney Mickey Palmer chiming in.
“This is a significant day for county government and is the product of excellent legal work on part of Assistant County Attorneys Bill Clague and Alex Nicodemi,” Palmer wrote.
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch officials expressed interest in selling the property in June by the end of the year. The property at 5895 Post Blvd. — 127 acres with 23 grass fields, a 3,200-seat stadium and several buildings — sold for $5.3 million.
Recently, the Tourist Development Council and the board of county commissioners approved the use of tourist taxes to fund more than half of the sale as well as $800,000 to construct a multipurpose facility and permanent restrooms. The rest of the money for the acquisition will come from park impact fees.
“I am very excited that the sale of Premier is now done,” Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, who represents the Lakewood Ranch area, said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for all of Manatee County to expand our opportunity for our young people and also to be able to bring international sports to all of Manatee County.”
While the complex was expected to have a deficit for the coming few years, Baugh said that didn’t worry her. She said she believes the county will be able to grow the complex and turn the budget around.
Baugh recalled being present for the complex’s ribbon-cutting, calling her feelings on how fast Lakewood Ranch has grown “bittersweet.”
“It never occured to me that one day the county would own the property,” she said.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the complex’s current employees will be absorbed into the county, with property management in charge of maintenance and the parks department creating a master plan for 36 acres north of the facility.
About 82,500 people were expected to have used the complex this year, and Falcione said the 2016-17 season brought a $14.1 million economic impact.
He also said the property was worth about $21 million.