The city of Kemah is continuing talks about building a new sports facility—as well as what the decision could mean for residents.

The backstory

At Kemah City Council’s March 6 meeting, Jason Boudrie, founder and CEO of Synergy Sports Global, shared a presentation with the group that included recommendations to build an indoor multisport facility, which the report determined could bring the city roughly $1.5 million in annual revenue after five years.

Kemah hired Synergy, which is a sports facility planner and developer based in North Carolina, to produce a report about the community’s recreational needs and the feasibility of building a sports complex in Kemah.

Kemah Community Development Corporation, or KCDC, had previously identified increasing sports tourism as a goal to grow revenue for the community, city officials said during the meeting.

What else?

Given that nearby Seabrook and League City have sportsplex facilities, some Kemah city officials felt there was a missed opportunity for generating hotel and sales tax revenue—a sentiment the consultant agreed with.

“From an economic standpoint, those are dollars leaving Kemah and dollars not coming into Kemah,” Boudrie said.

Breaking it down

A resident survey in the report showed basketball, pickleball and volleyball facilities were the most desired sports accommodations for a proposed facility.

Based on resident feedback and conversations with city officials, Synergy Sports Global recommended Kemah build a sports facility that’s between 100,000 and 125,000 square feet, outfitted with:
  • 6 to 8 regulation basketball courts
  • 12 to 16 volleyball courts
  • 18 to 20 indoor pickleball court
  • 6 to 8 futsal courts
When not in use, the courts could double as 75,000 square feet of convention, conference, trade show and event space, Boudrie said.

Funding the project

The report showed that building the facility would cost roughly $35 million.

City Council member Doug Meisinger said he was wary of the city not being able to recuperate tax dollars from the sales generated from hosting events at the proposed sports complex, but did ask about how many hotel rooms the city would need to have to ensure that Kemah would be able to recuperate hotel occupancy tax, rather than having visitors stay in nearby Seabrook or League City.

“I’ve never been a big fan of the ‘If you build it, they will come’ approach when spending tax dollars,” Meisinger said.

Boudrie estimated that Kemah would need to build three to five additional hotels with at least 150 rooms each to collect the report’s projected profits.

One more thing

The report also determined that Kemah should not pursue building additional sports fields because it would compete with nearby cities such as League City, which has the Chester L Davis Sportsplex, to host tournaments. Such a project could also require 50 to 100 acres of space, Boudrie said.

“A tournament-capable field complex that can produce significant revenue takes a lot of land,” Boudrie said.

Next steps

City Council members Teresa Vazquez-Evans and Darren Broadus, who also sit on the KCDC, will meet further with Synergy Sports Global to discuss the legal and financial feasibility of building a sports complex in Kemah.