Ballparks of Branson, LLC, officially took control over the Factory Merchants Branson facility Friday.
Ballparks of Branson President Doc Snyder said the company is in the design phases of work for the first phase of a youth baseball complex.
Phase one of the project, estimated to cost $15 million, will include the outfitting of the existing building on site for retail and the addition of six replica fields of famous baseball parks.
Snyder said the company has yet to receive any construction permits from the city of Branson.
“The city has been great to work with,” he said. “We hope that process goes reasonably quickly. Definitely, we want to get dirt moved as soon as possible, but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing things the right way.”
The project, after all phases are complete, will cost $24 million and include on-site housing for team and coaches, retail and restaurant facilities and 16 ball fields capable of hosting 128-team weeklong tournaments.
Snyder said the company has secured approximately 50 percent of total funding for the project.
“We are in talk with multiple people and entities,” he said. “We’re boarding a bunch of investors today (Thursday). The fundraising process is going really well.
“With that said, we’re not 100 percent funded yet. We’re moving in that direction.”
Snyder said investors seem to be excited about the uniqueness of the project.
“You can only own so much real estate or apartment complexes,” he said.
The city of Branson approved Ballparks of Branson’s longterm lease at Factory Merchants Branson, commonly called the Red Roof Mall, in early June. The 35-year lease allows Ballparks of Branson to operate the 46-acres of property at the mall and also allows for lease renewal for another 35 years.
“Obviously, we’re really excited,” Snyder said. “It’s been a lot of time and energy to get to this point, but we’re really excited to take the next step and really get it to a place where we feel it has really launched. (Friday) is exciting definitely from that standpoint.”
Joel Hornickel, Branson planning and zoning director, said Ballparks of Branson have not submitted any plans to secure building permits or land disturbance permits as of Thursday afternoon.
Hornickel said the average time his office can reply to requests is seven to eight days.
“That’s an average of several hundred projects over a year,” he said. “A project of that scale will take some extra time.”
Snyder said the company hopes to attract 48 teams per week during the first year of operation. The idea is to hold one tournament per week for 12 weeks, he said.
The proposed project features replicas of famous fields such as Busch Stadium, Wrigley Field, Tiger Stadium and Fenway Park. Featured fields will be focal points of attraction in the project and hold more spectators, Snyder said. The Busch Stadium replica, for example, would hold approximately 1,500 people.
“We're looking to create the ultimate youth baseball experience for 12-year-old kids,” Snyder previously said of the project. “We think it’s going to be a one-of-a-kind, unique facility that has not been built anywhere to the level of detail and excellence that we’re trying to bring to this project.”