Ohio School Board Signs Off Documents for New Football Stadium

Ohio’s Canton City School District Board of Education signed off on loan documents developers need to finalize the loan for the Hall of Fame Village football stadium. Developers can now close on a loan up to $100 million.

The funds will come in the form of a bridge loan, a type of hard money loan.

When the loan closes, funds should be available to cover the $8.3 million owed to contractors for completing work on the second phase of Benson Stadium.

Neither the school district nor the port is loaning money to Village developers, and neither are involved in loan negotiations. The district owns property, which it leases to the Village developers through the local port authority.

Because neither of these parties is involved in the loan agreement, the documents are not available to the public.

One document assures the lender that developers are up-to-date on rent payments and that the stadium isn’t damaged. Another document requires that the developers create a new football operations facility for the school district and maintain the district’s athletic traditions and history.

Additionally, the developers must promise to pay up to $20,000 per year for the football team and band to attend camp off-site.

The paperwork still needs to be approved by the Stark County Port Authority, which is expected to meet and vote on Tuesday.

Richard Milligan, board of education member, told the Canton Repository, “It sounds like – and we are certainly hopeful – that it will happen shortly.”

The Village is expected to cost $1 billion, but construction has stalled in recent months as developers attempt to secure financing to pay the millions of dollars owed to contractors building the 10-part project.

The bridge loan will come from Great American Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based finance company. The firm shares an office in the same building as Industrial Realty Group, a partner in the Village project.

Board members were ready to approve the paperwork earlier in the month, but waited because the lender’s attorneys and a new project partner wanted to review the documents.

There was a stipulation to get the required signatures for the approval: the district required the developers to promise to pay local contractors working on the Benson Stadium the millions of dollars they are owed, according to the Canton Repository.

At least 18 companies are seeking more than $8 million in unpaid bills on work for the second phase of the stadium’s construction.

The district is still owed $104,323 in additional payments related to the property. They are owed over $70,000 in reimbursement for legal services for the law firm that helped in the agreement negotiations. As per the agreement, the developers and the district will determine exactly how much is owed to each party and will ensure that those amounts are paid.

The port authority is expecting $49,588 in reimbursement by May 15 for expenses incurred through the end of February. Hall of Fame Village companies will be required to pay invoices for services rendered in March. The port authority’s legal counsel will be responsible for sending these invoices.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.