Point of contention
Data shows the EpiCenter’s expenses will outpace revenue in the rst two years of operation. However, ocials plan for the indirect economic impact from travel to the area, hotels, restaurants and retail to be much more lucrative.
and other relief eorts, Sta said. She noted the National Guard was staged at the county fairgrounds during Har- vey and that it was one of the only areas that did not ood. “From an emergency manage- ment perspective, the Fort Bend Fairgrounds is the highest terrain in Fort Bend County,” she said. “Those roadways are [also] very helpful, espe- cially when you’re getting resources in and out of the area. So, obviously, it being that close to those major thor- George and Commissioners Grady Prestage of Precinct 3 and Vincent Morales of Precinct 1—where the EpiCenter will be anchored—have all spoken to the long-term economic impacts of the $120 million complex. But Meyers—though he was in agreement this complex will be an asset—said he is not certain the cost will be worth the benet. “I’m very prudent when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money and try- ing to make sure we do it eciently and eectively,” Meyers said. “I want to be certain we are spending money on the things our citizens want in the way of service.” Matocha and Eric Sullivan, a part- ner with Sports Facilities Cos., which will operate the EpiCenter, presented nancial performance projections over the next 10 years at a July 22 Commissioners Court meeting. Meyers said it was misleading that the presentation did not include the county’s lease payments on the build- ing, which will start at $4.3 million annually until 2025 and increase to $6.4 million annually through the term of the lease ending in 2050. oughfares is a bonus.” Fiscal responsibilities However, Sullivan said the coun- ty’s lease payments are considered a capital expense and not included in the operational costs of the EpiCen- ter. The presentation, he said, sum- marized the expenses and revenue directly associated with the center. Naming rights—which have yet to be determined—were also not included in the summary, he said. The nancial performance sum- mary showed the EpiCenter will become protable in the third year of operation, starting at over $64,000 in prots and increasing to just under $300,000 by year 10, according to Sports Facilities Cos. Revenues from the EpiCenter will begin reimburs- ing the county in the fourth year, County Auditor Ed Sturdivant said at a July 12 meeting.
Additionally, economic impact gures show the center will bring in approximately $11 million in revenue in its rst year and more than $22 mil- lion by the 10th year. The economic impact is calculated from a percent- age of people who are expected to come from two hours outside of Fort Bend County, spend a day and a night in the area, purchase hotel stays and patronize businesses near the EpiCenter, Sullivan said. Meyers said he had some qualms about the county opting for a public-private partnership instead of a bond, which requires voter approval. The agreement with Stone- henge Holdings will cost the county an additional $44 million over the 30-year term of the lease, he said. Another reason he said he did not agree to fund the land purchase, the lease of the building and operating costs through a public-private part- nership is because some constituents feel the county moved forward with the EpiCenter “behind their back, so to speak” by not funding the proj- ect through a bond, which requires voter approval. On the other hand, George said, the decision for a public-private part- nership assured construction could begin sooner than if it were posed for a bond and that no taxpayer dollars will be used for the operation costs of the EpiCenter. Instead, the coun- ty’s general fund will provide cash ow for the EpiCenter’s operations until its reserve is signicant enough to cover expenditures. “Citizens do not have to come up with the money right up front,” George said. “That is actually abso- lutely a good deal. We are providing the land, and the developer is build- ing this facility and giving it to us, and then we will pay it o in the next 30 years.”
Economic impact projections
Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y6 Y7 Y8 Y9 Y10
Naming rights, beverage sponsorships and founding level partnerships for the venue have not yet been determined but will provide additional sources of revenue for the EpiCenter once calculated.
The EpiCenter will incur direct and indirect revenue
and expenses over the next decade. 10-year projections
$37.68M Operations and management $57.7M Building lease
$69.04M Direct revenue $177.04M Indirect economic impact $8.38M Additional sources
$29.33M Goods sold
Economic impact totals are driven by EpiCenter visitors who will travel from two hours outside the market and spend the day and night in Fort Bend County. The economic impact considers lodging, dining, transportation, entertainment, retail and miscellaneous spending.
Nonlocal days in market
Total room nights
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
DAILY PERPERSON SPENDING BY CATEGORY
Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5 Y6 Y7 Y8 Y9 Y10
Retail $24.32 per person
Miscellaneous $13.97 per person
Transportation $8.80 per person
Entertainment/ attractions $4.14 per person
Dining/groceries $51.75 per person
Lodging/ accommodations $40.67 per person
SOURCES: SPORTS FACILITIES COS., ERIC SULLIVAN, ANDY MEYERS, STONEHENGE HOLDINGS LLC MANAGEMENT, FORT BEND COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT
SUGAR LAND MISSOURI CITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2022
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