Officials side with Hutto city manager on Perfect Game developer termination

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Two city of Hutto officials said they agree with the direction taken by City Manager Odis Jones as he terminated a contract with Wolverine Interests to build a 242-acre, $800 million mixed-use development.

The Perfect Game development will go on with a new developer, expected to be introduced at the Sept. 12 Hutto City Council meeting. Wolverine, the original developer for the project, had its contract terminated when land acquisition deadlines were missed, according to the city.

“I am confident in our city manager who has continued to keep this project moving forward despite roadblocks including securing the funds to buy the land after the original developer failed to do so,” Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul said in a release. “[Jones] work[ed]with our legislature to secure the state’s portion of the hotel and sales use tax to apply to construction costs for the city’s first convention center and hotel as part of the mixed-use project anchored by Perfect Game as we strengthen that relationship, and now securing a new developer to keep the project moving forward.”

On July 26, Hutto filed a lawsuit against Wolverine for breach of contract. A month later, on Monday, Wolverine countersued for at least $1 million plus lost revenue, claiming the contract called for Hutto to provide written notice of default and a 60-day period to cure.

“This project is going to put Hutto on the map,” said Blake Beckham, an attorney for Wolverine, which has recently developed multi-use projects in Frisco. “This is an economic miracle project for Hutto. But without notice, they breached the contract. We put thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears into this.”

Tim Jordan, executive director of the Hutto Chamber of Commerce and economic development coordinator for the Hutto Economic Development Corporation, said the counterclaim from Wolverine is without merit.

“As a person that has been involved in these negotiations, I can attest that the statements and actions alleged by Wolverine in their counterclaim regarding City Manager Odis Jones’ actions and behavior during these negotiations are outrageously false,” Jordan said in a release.

The city of Hutto said it was a joint decision with Perfect Game, Sports Facility Advisory|Sports Facilities Management to work with a new developer.

Beckham said Hutto’s lawyers have to “dodge and divert to figure out how to fix Odis’ premature termination [of the contract with Wolverine]. …But Odis isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.”

 

 

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  1. What a catastrophic loss, nobody knows where Hutto is, the place is a speck of dust on a map… what a game changer that opportunity could have been.

    • Wait so no perfect game? That city needs perfect game. why did they pull back on such project? typical small rural mindset. Poor.

      • “The Perfect Game development will go on with a new developer”
        And from an earlier article, Perfect Game agreed with ditching this developer for a new one. Apparently they didn’t bring enough funds at closing for the land a while back, so it may delay the project, but it’s still moving forward.

    • Some people didn’t read the article. Does anyone read past the headline anymore? Perfect Game is still happening. It’s a developer change.

  2. Sideline Observer

    So what do Hutto officials have to say about Wolverine’s claim that the contract called for Hutto to provide written notice of default and a 60-day period to cure? And what does Wolverine have to say about Hutto’s claim that they missed their land acquisition deadlines? Neither party seems to be abiding by the terms of the original contract, and our legal system will likely have to sort it out at taxpayer expense.

    So what is the REAL root cause of the land acquisition delay that nobody is talking about? I’m guessing that Perfect Game doesn’t have $800 million, or anywhere near enough to build this project, and Wolverine was just stalling for time until they could get the first traunch to buy the property. When developers have money in their hands to build things, they can usually move quickly. That Hutto city manager has now made Wolverine look incompetent. Wolverine can’t afford a reputation like that, so they have no choice but to fight this. That Hutto city manager’s decision not to give Wolverine their deserved 60 day period to solve the problem, as stated in the contract, could eventually cost Hutto taxpayers a bundle in legal fees.

    I’m guessing that the financial backers of this project are having second thoughts. No prudent investor in their right mind is going to build 24 ball diamonds on the same piece of property, that would be insane. Think about it. Can you imagine any business scenario that would support 48 baseball teams playing at the same time on a regular basis? Even a single event like that would probably end up in the Guinness Book of World Records.

    • You seem to be doing a lot of guessing. Hutto said that their claim on the lack of 60 days notice is “without merit” which would imply that they did in fact give proper notice. One of the parties isn’t telling the truth. Wolverine definitely has to fight it since they are being sued by Hutto after all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Hutto can’t get compensation for delays from Wolverine as well.

      Regarding 24 diamonds, I think 8 are dedicated for local use, but go on the Perfect Game website, they have tons and tons of tournaments and showcases for scouting.

    • You’re incorrect. Old Settlers Park down the road from Hutto has 20 baseball fields and they get such regular use that the City of Round Rock is putting millions into renovating them and building 5 new softball fields right now. They can rent the space.

  3. As someone who lives very close to where they are planning on building this, I am not excited at all. I purchased a home in Hutto for it’s small town feel and less traffic and inexpensive housing. This is going to really mess up traffic. The roads weren’t designed for a major influx of traffic. Property taxes are going to go through the roof. I really like my small quite town with low crime…. 79 traffic coming back from Austin at rush hour is terrible. Add in Kalihari and we’re doomed.

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Joe Warner
Joe Warner is managing editor of the nine Austin-Central Texas editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.
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