Business: LakePoint’s reorganization taking longer than hoped. New owners optimist, cite record attendance in 2018 (1.25 million and counting), new north campus highway due in April.

Business: LakePoint’s reorganization taking longer than hoped. New owners optimist, cite record attendance in 2018 (1.25 million and counting), new north campus highway due in April.

The South Campus of LakePoint Sporting Community.

By Natalie Simms

It’s been nearly six months since LakePoint Sports South and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company had hoped its reorganization/recapitalization plan would be finalized within 120-150 days after their June 11 filing; however, the case continues to progress through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Rome.

“Everything has gone smoothly and according to plan.  We’re excited to say that we’re expecting plan confirmation in the next few weeks and being out of bankruptcy shortly following that confirmation,” says Dan Berman, senior managing director of Atlanta-based GlassRatner. The company is an advisory firm experienced in destination resorts, finance, real estate and construction, which is working with Rimrock Capital Management, majority owner of LakePoint.

LakePoint filed for bankruptcy to allow the company to “emerge with a clean balance sheet and strong financial outlook,” according to Berman.

In November 2016, LakePoint Land deeded acreage to Rimrock as part of a loan workout. In the recapitalization plan, Rimrock will contribute the land it now owns back to LakePoint Land. Rimrock’s debt will be converted to equity, making Rimrock the largest shareholder in the project. This will allow LakePoint to emerge from bankruptcy debt free and with the certainty of being clear of any claims.

“As part of the plan, existing shareholders will share in LakePoint’s future success,” he says. “While LakePoint’s development of athletic facilities started fast, growth of supporting businesses – from hotels to restaurants to entertainment venues – didn’t go fast enough to create a thriving ecosystem. We hope to change that.”

LakePoint is wrapping up its most successful year-to-date since opening in 2014. Their attendance so far this year has reached 1.25 million visits.

“We had a fantastic 2018. We grew our attendance by 10% to 1.25 million visits and are anticipating more growth in the years ahead,” says Berman.

“During the year, we hosted 12 different types of sport events at the Champions Center indoor facility, including our usual assortment of basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and cheer tournaments.  We also had several firsts at our indoor facility, including an indoor track and field meet in February and a car show in September.  We are in our third year of the Harlem Globetrotters calling us home and their game in October was attended by 1,500 people.  We continued to host youth camps during the summer and league play in the indoor facility during the week at night.”

In addition, the eight baseball fields stay packed throughout the spring, summer and fall. Plus, there are multipurpose fields hosting a variety of sports including soccer and lacrosse.

“LakePoint continues to be an important economic driver for Bartow County and the region and we look forward to keeping our momentum going into 2019,” says Berman.

As for what’s next, Rimrock and LakePoint plan to continue the legacy of master developing the 1,300-acre campus. Earlier this year, Rimrock hired real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to help with planning and analysis in development of a new master plan.

“We’re working with a team of people, including JLL, on what the best programming could be for the both the south and north campuses. We want to bring amenities here that support our state-of-the-art sports facilities.  And we want these amenities to deliver convenience and a good experience to our athletes and families and for the community,” says Berman. “We are not ready to make any formal announcements but are excited about what we are working on.”

One project that will help development is the construction of the new LakePoint Parkway connecting Allatoona Road to Red Top Mountain Road, and opening up the north campus. Work began earlier this spring.

“The road should be complete by mid to late April 2019 and then I expect LakePoint to really start gaining momentum. There is lots of interest in new developments, especially on the south campus, there are a couple of hotels waiting to get out of the ground … we hope to see things moving by spring when the road is complete,” says Steve Taylor, Bartow’s sole county commissioner.

Berman agrees: “We want to bring more amenities here – and with LakePoint Parkway on track to finish in April or May that will open up our North Campus.  As far as further development, that could take a variety of forms and we’re working through the details now. We don’t want to announce anything before it’s final but suffice it to say, interest is strong in LakePoint and we’re thrilled about the continued investment we’re going to see here – more details to come.”

For more: Please see our coverage from last spring. Click Background

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