The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has come out in support of a proposed multi-use facility that would bring the Yakima Bears – a Single-A professional baseball franchise – to Vancouver, following the results of a commissioned economic study on the facility’s impact.
The study, authored by Paul Dennis of Cascade Planning Group and Eric Hovee of E.D. Hovee & Company, revealed the overall economic impact created by the project (construction, professional baseball and tournament activities) is expected to generate $206.5 million over a 20-year period. This includes $34.5 million from construction, $4.6 million annually from professional baseball and another $4 million with the facility serving as a championship venue for regional and national tournaments.
"Based upon our analysis, we believe the region can comfortably support a Single-A baseball team in Vancouver,” said Dennis. “We also believe the economic impact of a multi-use facility is boosted by the presence of a professional baseball franchise that is prepared to serve as an anchor tenant and pay a portion of capital and pay for maintenance.”
The impact study suggested a multi-use facility would also address the county’s need for infrastructure necessary to attract business and economic activity, as mentioned in the recent CREDC economic development plan by TIP Strategies. In addition, the study said the facility would benefit Clark College by offsetting current and future costs.
"After reviewing the findings of this report, CREDC supports the relocation of the Yakima Bears to Vancouver based upon the positive economic impacts and added amenities of a multi-use stadium to our community," said Eric Fuller, owner of the commercial real estate firm Eric Fuller & Associates and chair of the CREDC, in a press release.
According to the study’s authors, at $22.7 million, the proposed multi-use facility at Clark College is roughly $4 million lower than other comparable facilities constructed over the past decade, presumably in part because of the unique partnership with the college for land and parking during non-peak times.
Regarding a public-private funding split for the capital portion of the project, the study said the proposed 70/30 allotment is in line with six other stadium projects around the country – although two were funded heavily by adjoining universities, and two were funded completely from public resources.
With the proposed admissions fee generating an estimated $1 million a year, the overall economic impact over a 20-year period is $6.3 per public dollar invested, or $4.6 per public dollar invested post-construction, according to the study. With additional tournament activity, returns could increase.
"We are encouraged that the project not only would create a significant boost to the economy through construction, but would continue to generate economic activity many times greater than the proposed public investment," added Fuller.
A copy of the full commissioned economic impact report can be downloaded at www.credc.org.