CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi City Council approved a new agreement with SQH Sports and Entertainment that will force the San Antonio company to prove it has the funding to build a sports complex on the south side by Jan. 3.
Last year, 6 Investigates discovered that SQH didn't have experience with sports complexes, and that the land it planned to build on was worth millions despite the city only charging the company a dollar per year for it. That happened around the same time the city council started delaying votes that would have finalized the project.
If the city council votes to approve the new agreement again at its next meeting, Tuesday's vote keeps the project alive. However, it puts pressure on SQH to meet a series of milestones or else the city pulls the plug.
"I'm cautiously optimistic," said District 3 councilmember Roland Herrera, where the complex is set to be built. "I have to commend (SQH) for their persistence."
Herrera is referring to the six years that have passed since the company first proposed building the multi-million dollar complex along the Crosstown Extension, across the street from Church Unlimited. At that point, SQH planned to build the complex of baseball fields, soccer fields, and an indoor basketball facility on 67 acres. In the years since, the company's plans have ballooned to 203 acres, but Tuesday's agreement calls for the original figure.
"I think by us moving and setting these hard milestones, particularly starting with the 67 acres, it places a little more confidence in (the project getting done)," Herrera said. "It gives the community a little more confidence."
If the company can prove to the city that it has adequate funding for the project by Jan. 3, 2020, the company will move onto the next milestone. By May 1, SQH must have all of the utilities for the complex approved. Then comes a Dec. 1, 2020, deadline to have plans for the complex finalized. Construction would then need to begin by January 2021, and be completed by February 2022. The final milestone comes in April of 2022 when operations need to begin.
Herrera's cautious optimism includes the potential for the sports complex -- not only to get built -- but also possibly expand in the future.
"It's going to be a smaller complex," he said. "We're going to take some baby steps. I think once they fully develop that, then there's another option for another 40 acres (or) something of that nature."