350-Acre Sports Complex Proposed for Northern Florence

by Blake Herzog

A Mesa-based company unveiled its proposal to build a sports complex with facilities for baseball, softball, football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball and field hockey to the Florence Town Council in June.

Grinders Sports Group, Inc. has two properties along Felix Road on the northern and southern borders of the Magma Ranch development, which total 350 acres.

Led by CEO Kelly Stinnett, the firm’s plans also include a state-of-the-art esports complex, family entertainment center with a movie theater, a sports medicine and rehabilitation center, charter school and satellite college campuses, player and student housing, hotel and retail space and more, according to a General Plan amendment application submitted to the Town.

There was no council vote on the proposal, as the hearing marked the beginning of a 60-day review period for the general plan amendment before two scheduled hearings at the Planning and Zoning Commission in August and September and a potential Town Council vote in October.

If approved, the general plan amendment would change the land-use designation on the property. It’s currently just outside Town limits but Grinders is preparing an annexation request.
The company envisions the complex as the “Southwest USA’s first sports and esports venue providing a world-class training and academic educational destination for aspiring athletes active in major sports,” according to the project description included in its application.

Plans are to bring top coaches and educators to a state-of-the-art facility to “provide a catalyst and mind-body inspiration motivating athletes become Olympians and professional athletes,” the narrative also stated, and Grinders projects creating more than 2,000 direct jobs.

The current General Plan land-use designation for the Grinders property is a mixture of low- and medium-density residential, commercial and office, which is not compatible with the type of project the landowner is proposing.

According to www.kellystinnettbaseball.com, Stinnett was a Major League Baseball player for 15 years whose nickname was “The Grinder.” His career included a stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He now offers training for youth players at an indoor facility in northeast Mesa.