The physical changes within the cavernous former Libertyville Sports Complex have been subtle, but the new operator has been working diligently for months to get the facility back up and running and strengthen its on-site presence.
Canlan Sports, based in Canada, has made headway since reopening the dormant facility on July 1 as a tenant with an option to purchase the property on the busy corner of Route 45 and Peterson Road.
With the busy indoor sports season ahead, the course of the next few months will help ensure the company settles in Libertyville for the long term.
“That depends on the performance and utilization,” said Michael Gellard, executive vice president. “The next six months will give us a clue. The building itself, we’re very impressed with it.”
Even though Canlan had been up and running for nearly four months, the company’s executives couldn’t see their investments in person because they were being held by border restrictions in Canada.
After the travel ban was lifted, Gellard and others visited suburban operations in Lake Barrington, West Dundee and Romeoville this week. The Illinois tour included a stop in Libertyville Thursday for a ceremonial cutting of the ribbon with village officials, staff, and others.
“The cooperation with the village has been very supportive to us. They want this to be successful,” said Chief Operating Officer Mark Faubert afterwards. “We hope that our brand will have some weight in this market.”
Canlan opened in Lake Barrington in 2015. General Manager Tammy Kerr kept an eye on the Libertyville Sports Complex, which was closed by the village on March 13, 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
“It was a very difficult decision for the board and the community,” said Mayor Donna Johnson.
But there could be a golden line with the facility that has long weighed on village finances. Canlan approached the village and negotiations began. In April, the village board enthusiastically approved a two-year lease with an option to purchase the facility at any time for $ 3.75 million.
A five-month grace period, taking into account COVID-19 capacity restrictions and start-up costs, was part of the deal. Canlan will pay $ 20,000 monthly rent starting December 1.
The agreement includes the indoor sports center as well as a baseball diamond and board track on the property. The 169,000-square-foot indoor sports facility has two full-size indoor soccer fields, multiple indoor courts, a climbing wall, fitness area, and other facilities.
The building also offers space for third-party tenants. Hot Ground Gym, which operates a children’s gym with indoor obstacle course and team building events in Arlington Heights, is preparing its place in Libertyville for an opening this fall.
The indoor facility is one of three components of the Libertyville Sports Complex, which opened in 2002 on 48 acres. The village raised $ 25 million in two loans to buy the land and build facilities, including a tiered golf driving range and mini-golf area.
Both are closed and for sale. The sale of the majority of the property for the development of two industrial buildings is planned.
In this regard, annual debt payments for the sports complex are expected to decrease from $ 1.6 million to $ 900,000 due to a bond repayment and restructuring.