A new state-of-the-art indoor sports arena is set to open for business on June 1st in the Northpointe Business Park at the intersection of highways 1077 and 1085. Playmakers Indoor Sports, LLC will operate the facility which is being constructed by Voelkel McWilliams for the developers, Indoor Sports, LLC.
The facility will boast a 175 x 80 foot field outfitted with boards and glass, similar to a hockey arena, and premium artificial turf as the playing surface, along with a 45 x 90 foot turf-covered mezzanine for additional play. Primary offerings will be adult and youth leagues for soccer, lacrosse and flag football as well as team play in “Reball” – an indoor version of paintball. Other offerings will include clinics, private coaching, camps and sports-themed parties.
Playmakers will bring to reality a vision conceived by their principals and St. Tammany residents Ryan Enk, Todd Giustiniano and Rick Honsberger, nearly three years ago. Enk is the local franchisee and operator of the successful SoccerTots and HoopsterTots franchises. He began working on feasibility studies for an indoor arena several years ago hoping to turn his passion for soccer and working with kids into a career.
Giustiniano and Honsberger headed down a similar path independent of Enk. They decided to pursue the idea after Giustiniano took a team of 11 year old girls across the lake to play indoor soccer as a fun summer activity and wondered why there was no similar facility on the northshore. At Honsberger’s urging they began to work on a business plan. Enk, unbeknownst to them, was already further along in his pursuit. Both sides had hired national consultants recommended by the U.S. Indoor Soccer Association to help them determine the feasibility of the project and guide them through the process.
A chance meeting of Enk and Honsberger resulted in the three deciding to work together to bring their idea to fruition. “The three of us quickly realized the synergy and benefits of working together to bring one first-class facility to the northshore instead of competing against each other with two. Our skill sets complemented one another perfectly and gave us all the pieces to the puzzle to make it happen,” said Giustiniano.
By joining forces, Enk was able to capitalize on the others’ business and capital fundraising experience, while contributing his previous facility management and operations experience.
The group decided to continue with Enk’s consultant- Kent Gold out of Seattle, Washington. Gold is a highly regarded national indoor sports arena consultant and has a stellar track record of successfully developing more than 40 similar facilities across the country. After initial feasibility studies convinced the group that the project would succeed, they embarked on a two year odyssey to locate a site and secure investors. The first major hurdle was cleared when the group secured startup capital, with the biggest and key contribution coming from New Orleans investment banker Marc Bonifacic.
The next step was to find investors/developers to build the facility and lease it to the operating group. After several months and pitches to numerous groups and individuals, a local group of private investors committed to the project.
All the pieces were in place in October 2008 when the economy collapsed and their real estate investors had to back out. Undeterred, the group began a new search and connected with Paysse McWilliams, owner of local construction firm Voelkel McWilliams and an avid soccer enthusiast. McWilliams was sold on the idea and put together an investor group to finance the building and land which will be leased to Playmakers.
After spending another year negotiating the purchase of the land, working out the details of the operating lease and drawing up the building plans, McWilliams began construction in November 2009. It is moving forward on schedule with an opening date targeted for June 1st. Registration for summer leagues and camps is now open via the company’s website: www.playmakersindoor.com.
Playmakers’ mission is to provide a first-class facility that offers recreational and competitive indoor sports leagues for players of all ages and abilities. The principals hope to capitalize on the national trend of high participation rates in indoor sports and enhance the quality of life factor for the northshore community. Its focus will be on enjoyable, recreational play in a clean, wholesome, family-friendly environment. “We’re driven not only by the opportunity to build a successful business, but also by the chance to contribute a significant community asset to St. Tammany Parish,” said Honsberger.