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LakePoint seeks bankruptcy protection, plans to re-organize

The Champions Center, indoor pavilion at LakePoint near Emerson.

LakePoint Land LLC has filed a bankruptcy petition in the federal courts where the first hearing is tentatively set for Wednesday June 13 at 1 p.m. in Atlanta.

The youth sports complex at Emerson, right off I-75,  has been slow to develop however officials affiliated with the organization still believe in the concept and indicate that no major disruptions are planned in summer activities or scheduling moving forward.

The 1,300 acre development includes eight baseball fields, all completely covered with an artificial surface. The new Champions Center, an indoor pavilion with 12 basketball courts, has been open for a little over a year and the complex is also the home of Rally Beach volleyball, the Terminus Wake Park, Lake Point Station, an indoor/outdoor facility with laser tag, miniature golf and climbing walls along with several soccer/lacrosse fields.

Work has already started on the north campus, between Georgia 293 and Red Top Mountain Road.  The state provided grant assistance for road construction to the North campus including a major bridge over a CSX rail line.

The bankruptcy filing lists liabilities between $10 million and $50 million with less than $1 million in assets.

The following is the text of a statement from LakePoint Monday night:

LakePoint Sporting Community is recapitalizing in a move to achieve its vision for becoming the premier travel sports vacation destination. 

The LakePoint Land entity is filing a pre-arranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The filing is expected to allow LakePoint to quickly emerge with a clean balance sheet and strong financial solutlon.

“The recapitalization will strengthen the company’s financial picture so LakePoint can grow and flourish. It creates financial certainty and stability for the project and puts LakePoint on a clear growth trajectory,” said Dan Berman with Glass Ratner, who is leading the restructuring on behalf of LP Investments I, an affiliate of Rimrock Capital, a fund with $4 billion of assets under management. Rimrock is the lender and main capital source for LakePoint and has been so for the past five years 

LakePoint is heralded as a premier family vacation sports destination with state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor facilities for athletic tournaments and scouting events. LakePoint hosts more than 40 sports, including baseball, softball, basketball, gymnastics and sand volleyball. LakePoint’s indoor complex, the Champions Center, was both the newest and busiest facility in the past year. The complex hosted 578 event days occurring from June 2016 to May 2017, making LakePoint a year-round destination

During the brief bankruptcy process people should see few changes in the normal course operations, said Bob Zurcher, Manager and CFO. LakePoint will continue to operate as before, existing management will remain, employees and vendors will continue to get paid in full and on time, and tournaments, events and games will go on. LakePoint expects to grow 10 percent this year. “What we hope people do notice is LakePoint’s continued commitment to service and quality guest experiences along with Rimrock’s commitment to LakePoint’s continued success.” Zurcher added

Certain facilities and venues, including the indoor sports pavilion, the entertainment venues,and the surrounding hotels and restaurants, are not included in the Chapter 11 filing as they are not owned by LakePoint. LakePoint Land has acted as a master developer and sold parcels to third parties for development.

Rimrock and LakePoint plan to continue the legacy of master developing the 1,300-acre project. Rimrock already has purchased additional acreage around campus and a new master plan is in the works. Rimrock has hired real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle and other professionals to help with the planning and analysis.

“We’re extremely positive about LakePoint’s future,” he added. “LakePoint is an important asset to us at Rimrock. We’ve already invested millions of dollars in both LakePoint and surrounding land, and we plan to invest millions of dollars more. We believe in and support the original vision of LakePoint and we believe the project’s best years are yet to come.”

In November 2016, LakePoint Land deeded land to Rimrock as part of a loan workout.In the pre-arranged filing, Rimrock will contribute the land it now owns back to LakePoint Land. Rimrock’s debt will be converted to equity, making Rimrock the largest shareholder in the project.This will allow LakePoint to emerge from bankruptcy debt free and with the certainty of being clear of any claims.As part of the plan, existing shareholders will share in LakePoint’s future success.

While LakePoint’s development of athletic facilities started fast, growth of supporting businesses – from hotels to restaurants to entertainment venues – didn’t go fast enough to create a thriving eco-system. “We hope to change that,” Berman said.

Progress on future projects already has started: Giant bulldozers, scrapers and trucks are working around the clock on a road-bridge expansion. This significant project will extend LakePoint Parkway from Allatoona Road to Red Top Mountain Road and will serve as a catalyst for more development.

More than 1 million people visit LakePoint annually, which creates an economic impact of nearly $100 million from room nights at hotels, restaurant visits, shopping and other entertainment.

“We’re only fifty minutes from the world’s busiest airport,and right off of I-75, so it’s easy to get here from just about anywhere,” Berman said. “And our attention to detail at the indoor and outdoor facilities can’t be matched.The reorganization will allow us to leverage these strengths to grow into the most sought-after sports venue of our kind.”