Amended Canfield Arena lease agreement approved

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — The City Council unanimously approved a 15-year lease agreement with Elite Sports Training to demolish and redevelop the vacant Canfield Arena, 2100 Kinloch.

Councilman Ray Muscat made a motion during a study session Aug. 14 for an offer on the agreement followed by support by Bill Bazzi.

Elite Sports Training won the bid to develop the center in February under the original plan of bringing the current building up to code and adding the sports amenities. In June, Elite Co-owner and General Manager Rob Fay presented the idea of tearing down the building and starting from scratch to create a new facility.

The cost to construct the new building and make improvements is roughly $790,000, and demolition of the current building is scheduled for Sept. 4.

During construction of the building, Elite Sports Training Co-owner Mike Makki will not pay rent through December. The building is scheduled to go up in January, according to the plans.

Elite will control the ice arena site property for 15 years with two options to extend and run the baseball diamond for 12 years with an option for the city to extend for three years.

During the study session, Corporate Counsel Gary Miotke said new changes to the lease agreement were recently brought to him when Makki indicated he had additional needs.

The first change was extending the construction site on the south side where the arena currently sites to make the building bigger by 17 feet.

Councilman Dave Abdallah asked if the nearby tennis court would be impacted, to which Makki said there will be 11 feet left from the building to the closest fence of the tennis court.

Another change was designating up to 25 parking spaces for use and allowing signs to be created and installed at the cost of Makki.

Under the agreement, Elite will demolish the current ice arena, construct a new building, improve the baseball field, and add batting cages, golfing and new artificial turf. Youth athletic programs and other organizations will be able to rent time at the facility.

The baseball fields at the new building site and baseball field at South End Swapka Park, 5499 McKinley, will be improved to become playable.

Fay said planned upgrades to the fields are making the ground level, adding capping on top of the fencing, dugout improvements, fenced-in bullpens and an irrigation system.

The city-owned Canfield Arena was condemned in 2017 and has remained vacant since then due to rodent, electrical and exit issues along with late payments from the former tenant.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)