Bettendorf officials likened Doug Kratz's proposal to build a regional sports complex and family entertainment center to that of hitting a home run.

Now, a development agreement is in place to establish a 20-year tax increment financing district and make that place to play a reality.

"We anticipate it's going to commence construction either before June 1 or shortly thereafter, but the important date is that it will be completed and operational by August 1, 2018," Economic Development Director Jeff Reiter said.

The BettPlex project, located at the Interstate 80 and Middle Road corridor, will be split into two phases: the sports complex/family entertainment center and commercial site development. 

The first phase, estimated at a cost of $45 million, includes both indoor and outdoor amenities over 79 acres that will be completed by August of next year.

A six-acre indoor facility will consist of a full-size synthetic turf soccer field, hardwood basketball and volleyball courts, sand volleyball courts, batting cages, a family entertainment center, personal training, physical therapy, food, beverage and retail space.

The outdoor complex will include synthetic turf soccer and baseball and softballs fields with lighting for nighttime activities, walking paths and parking.

Commercial development is slated to begin on or before July 1, 2018, on the property to the east of BettPlex.

Reiter said the commercial development is intended to support BettPlex's activities and is expected to include hotel, restaurant and retail uses.

"It will have to meet zoning and commercial, amenity style uses that fit the BettPlex," he said.

For the development to take place, Bettendorf had to provide economic incentives to move the project forward, including a $4.9 million TIF-supported grant.

Under most circumstances, TIF districts provide a rebate on increased tax revenue resultant from increased property valuations during the specific duration, but the agreement allows for BettPlex to receive some of the money upfront.

"We're agreeing to provide a front grant to BettPlex that's going to be a TIF-supported grant," Reiter said. "What we would be doing is forwarding that to the developer based upon the valuation instead of the rebate style of TIF."

In addition to the TIF grant, Bettendorf also will provide more than $3.8 million in infrastructure improvements as well as a $1.9 million economic development grant.

Reiter said Bettendorf also will purchase a 10-acre parcel for $600,000 from the developer where they hope to see even further development and a greater return on the investment.

With at least one hotel planned for the area, Bettendorf also will include a $5 per night fee for hotel properties within the Interstate 80 urban renewal area.

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"It's a fee driven back to the city and one of the opportunities to recoup some of our investment," Reiter said.

City Administrator Decker Ploehn said the site is likely to house two hotels and estimated the hotel fee could generate $2.2 million for the city over 20 years.

The fee is similar to the one put in place at the Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf.

In addition to the hotel fee, Ploehn said that sales tax revenue for the city is estimated to increase by $30,000 annually and the hotel and motel tax revenue could generate $2.8 million over the next 20 years.

In the event the hotel is not built by 2021, the developer would be required to pay back the $1.9 million economic development grant over a 10-year period.

Before the City Council has a chance to approve the agreement, a public hearing has been scheduled for May 2, but the growing hope is BettPlex will be catalyst to economic development in Bettendorf.

"We expect the Interstate 80 and Middle Road corridor will develop fast," Reiter said. "We believe this will galvanize that intersection and tremendous growth will follow."

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