Is Canton ready for a football-themed resort? Investors say yes

Developers plan to break ground on $300M second phase, with hotels, apartments and retail

National Weekend Edition /
Aug.August 15, 2020 09:00 AM
Michael Crawford and a rendering of the project (LInkedin, Hall of Fame Village)

Michael Crawford and a rendering of the project (LInkedin, Hall of Fame Village)

In Canton, Ohio, plans are rushing ahead to build a football-themed resort near the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former Walt Disney executive Michael Crawford and his investment group have already completed a stadium and sports complex as part of the project’s first phase, according to the Wall Street Journal. They plan to break ground on the $300 million second phase later this year, the Journal reported.

It will include hotels, a water park, apartments, a research building, and retail space. Crawford also wants to expand into sports betting, e-sports, and media production.

The group is aiming to complete the complex, dubbed Hall of Fame Village Powered By Johnsons Controls, by the end of 2022, with the hopes that the pandemic will by then be history.

“The people’s hunger and desire to consume sports and be in environments like arenas and stadiums and destinations like this will be at an all-time high,” Crawford told the Journal. “We will be building in a down market and opening up in an up market.”

Crawford spent 25 years at Disney and was involved with developing resorts in the U.S, Japan, and China. In 2018, he joined the company behind the park, called Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co.

Last year, it raised $31 million when it merged with so-called “blank check” company Gordon Pointe Acquisition Corp. It hoped to raise up to $80 million with the merger, but some of the company’s shareholders dropped out during the pandemic.

Crawford said the company is now in talks with banks for a construction loan worth more than $200 million. [WSJ] — Dennis Lynch 


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