Garmin Olathe Soccer Complex seeks to cash in on the sport’s success

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OLATHE, Kan. -- A unique public-private partnership is making a world class soccer complex a reality.

The new Garmin Olathe Soccer Complex expects to draw about 1.5 million visitors a year.

Olathe-based Garmin International is sponsoring the soccer complex, which will host players and families from 14 states to compete in tournaments.

Nine all-weather turf fields will complement similar facilities at Overland Park's soccer complex.

With Lee's Summit, Kansas City, Kan., Grandview, and the Northland also racing to build world-class soccer sites, the metro area is quickly becoming a hub for tournaments in the expanding sport.

A new Holiday Inn opened next door last month, and developers will break ground for a Sheraton hotel next month.

"We have so many kids that play soccer in the Kansas City area," said Shane Hackett of the Heartland Soccer Association. "We are actually the second highest per capita city in the United States, so we need all of these facilities to be able to play. It’s very comparable in terms of the turf. They actually run in coordination with each other."

Retailers are restaurants also are expected to move into 250,000 square feet of commercial space next to the soccer complex, as the city hopes to cash in on soccer's success.

Each year, about 1,300 teams will compete at the venue through Heartland Soccer.

The $65 million development, which includes the hotel and retail space, is all privately financed by the Christie family who owns the land. Developers are eligible for tax incentives, including no property taxes on the project for ten years.

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