Ground broken for multi-million dollar hotel and sports center

Project developers were joined by Goddard city officials for Thursday afternoon's groundbreaking of the $55 million Goddard Destination Development, including a Crowne Plaza hotel and aquatic, sports and entertainment facilities.

?By Sam Jack

GODDARD – City officials and developers broke ground on Goddard Destination Development's $55 million project, which will include a Crowne Plaza hotel as well as aquatic, sports and entertainment facilities.

"It's been a long, long journey to get to this point, but here we are, finally breaking ground on a very exciting project," said Bruce Neviaser, principal of Imagine Resorts & Hotels. "We're very proud to be here and proud to share this moment."

Construction at the site, west of Walmart near Kellogg and S. 199th Street West, will begin immediately. Completion is predicted in April 2017.

"We see this development as a linchpin for additional development in this area, in Goddard," said Neviaser. "We think this will help stimulate the development of restaurants, entertainment, housing and retail. ... I've seen it before: It'll come."

The Crowne Plaza Hotel will include 141 rooms, plus a restaurant, recreational pool, meeting spaces and sports bar. An adjoining family entertainment center will feature bowling, laser tag and a video arcade.

The development's 100,000-square-foot swimming pool facility will be a national draw.

"One of our consultants was a former swim coach for the U.S. Olympic Team. He said this'll be one of the fastest pools in the country. He told us you will see U.S. and even world championship times in the pool someday," said Neviaser.

The pool facility will also feature a small museum and gift shop affiliated with the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Baseball teams and tournament organizers have already begun to book space on the four baseball fields that will be constructed with the complex, and a second phase of construction will later bring the total to eight fields.

"When we are up and open, we will be an outstanding citizen of this community," said Neviaser. The project will bring up to 1,000 workers to Goddard during construction, and Neviaser predicts around 200 new, permanent jobs at the facility once it opens.

Look for more information on the groundbreaking and Goddard Destination Development in the Jan. 21 issue of The Times-Sentinel.