World Class Design for New Showgrounds Unveiled
Prominent Equestrian Designer Robert Jolicoeur Overseeing Project
Wellington, FL –March 7, 2007– Stadium Jumping, Inc., and its Board of Directors today unveiled a first look at the proposed new world class showgrounds and facilities that will become a showpiece for the community.
The new showgrounds will have one grand prix field totaling approximately four acres, and one derby field around five acres. In addition, there will be eight show rings with special riding surface and adjacent warm-up areas. There will also be approximately six acres of training facilities, to allow riders to prepare their horses adequately.
To extend the show season, a large covered arena will allow for night classes and attract different breeds. This multi-use building will have the capacity to also host some small trade shows. This show grounds also has the capacity to comfortably provide parking for 5,000 spectators and ample parking for exhibitors, vendors and vans, which represents about 40 acres. Easy access to the site is essential.
It provides for over 2,200 permanent stalls onsite with supporting facilities such as wash-stalls, grooming areas for horses and bathrooms. There will be extra space available to host the overflow and portable tents and stalls.
Special attention will be given to the onsite circulation for the cars and trucks, horses and pedestrians, and golf carts, which will have a designated area. For safety, no horses and grooms will walk less than a quarter mile, which will also reduce the cost of labor for the trainers. To achieve this goal, the property has to be compact and contiguous.
In summary, the total area required to operate a quality event is about 170 acres plus over 30 acres of retention. This is the minimum requirement to maintain and improve a show ground of international standard and reputation.
“The Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses in show jumping, hunter and dressage. It is the largest horse show in the world and is the longest equestrian circuit. To maintain that reputation it has to have the proper facilities,” said Robert Jolicoeur, chief executive of International Equestrian Design (IED), a prominent landscape architecture firm specializing in the design and planning of avant-garde equestrian sites and theme parks.
In addition to announcing the plans for the new showgrounds, Stadium Jumping detailed some important facts and underlying issues that prevent Wellington Equestrian Partners, its proposed landlord, from fulfilling its previously announced plans. Over the past 19 months, Stadium Jumping has waited for Wellington Equestrian Partners to deliver the commitments permitting Stadium Jumping to remain at the current showgrounds. However, Wellington Equestrian Partners has failed to deliver a lease and ancillary agreements necessary to accomplish this, despite repeated requests.
It is public record that Wellington Equestrian Partners merely supplied a non-binding term sheet that in essence reduced Stadium Jumping to a tenant-at-will on approximately 54 acres. To date, this initial term sheet is all that has been received by Stadium Jumping. Wellington Equestrian Partners includes Mark Bellissimo, Dennis Dammerman, Roger Smith and the Burton family.
In analyzing its options, Stadium Jumping believes this “in-action” is caused by the following impediments:
1. Wellington Equestrian Partners does not own the land underlying the showgrounds. That is owned by Palm Beach Polo, Inc.
2. Palm Beach Holdings, the former owner of parcel F is currently suing Wellington Equestrian Partners for fraud and is in litigation with them.
3. Wellington Equestrian Partners has not pursued its PBIEC project with the Village of Wellington. It is public record that Wellington Equestrian Partners has withdrawn its application to the Village of Wellington for approval of the PBIEC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners entire development project can not go forward unless it resubmits an entirely new application to modify the Comprehensive Plan, and obtain new consents from all neighboring landowners, which does not appear possible.
4. The Peacock Pond property, and what is commonly known as Parcel E and Parcel F, “all essential components of PBIEC plans” are each the subject of an EPA grand jury investigation.
5. Wellington Equestrian Partners has sold off critical parcels of showground property under speculation for millions of dollars that would have otherwise been, and was part of the showground property. Therefore the footprint is reduced to minor league status. Because of these sales, the lack of ownership and the disqualified properties mentioned above, Wellington Equestrian Partners cannot fulfill Stadium Jumping’s needs for adequate property to conduct its shows.
Gene Mische, president of Stadium Jumping, discussed the difficulty process. “Let me be clear. We’ve heard all of these promises and time and time again, they cannot deliver. It is the quintessential bait-and-switch. Fifty-four acres is what we would be left with under their current proposal. It’s just unacceptable. They promise to deliver an acceptable lease to us and have yet to deliver anything to us but the original term sheet. Their credibility in this community is questionable.”
About the Plans
While the renderings and footprint are site-neutral, the plans show that the new proposed showgrounds would be larger and more comprehensive than the existing footprint at the current facility making it one of the top showgrounds in the world.
About the Designer
The new world class showgrounds are being developed by prominent equestrian designer Robert Jolicoeur.
“This is going to be an amazing facility for competitors, spectators and for the community,” said Lou Jacobs, Board of Directors, Stadium Jumping. “Robert is certainly one of the world’s finest equestrian designers and we are fortunate to have him leading this important project.”
Founded in 1981 by Robert Jolicoeur, International Equestrian Design (IED) is a landscape architecture firm specializing in the design and planning of avant-garde equestrian sites and theme parks. IED's worldwide list of projects includes Horse Parks, Equestrian Show Grounds, Training Centers, Racetracks, and recreation-based communities. IED's services include design, the production of plans, construction documentation and data, as well as project management. IED has established itself as a leader in the field by planning a wide range of projects from private equestrian facilities to the equestrian venue for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
“Stadium Jumping is truly focusing on creating an event grounds that will be one of the finest in the world,” said Robert Jolicoeur, Chairman and CEO of IED. “There is ample space to accommodate all needs and the design will be one of kind and beautiful – a true asset to the community.”
Jolicoeur's experience began as a horseman and as a course designer at a very young age. He quickly achieved the prestigious rank of Official International Course Designer, and has served the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) on assignments such as the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, three-time technical delegate for the Volvo World Cup Finals and over 80 World Cup qualifiers in America. He has played a key role in the development of the sport on this continent.
In addition to the showground amenities, which will be among the best in the world, there will be special attention paid to details important to equestrians. IED is a global expert on footing and understands that the footing mix is a key factor for success in all equestrian training and competition sites. IED's objective is to protect the horses' health and enhance their performance through the development of outstanding footing materials. Given this objective, IED launched a research program to evaluate surface materials.
Its ultra-modern research facility provides cutting-edge surface analysis enabling us to specify the best choice and installation of footing materials for racing, training or competition venues.
Added Mische, “This is an exciting day for us. We have been working diligently on designing a new showgrounds facility that can truly accommodate the growing needs of the community and the equestrians. As we have seen this season, there simply is not enough space at this present location to accommodate our needs. This new facility will truly be world class in quality and will reflect the uniqueness of the Wellington community.”
While a site was not named as part of today’s announcement, Stadium Jumping is negotiating on multiple locations and expects to name the site in the very near future.
“We are still going through the process of due diligence,” said Mische. “Frankly, we want to be absolutely certain that we do this once and we do it right. This showgrounds will be the centerpiece to this area and it is important to ensure all of the necessary pieces are in place before we make an announcement. Having said that, I am confident that once individuals have the opportunity to see this footprint on the site we ultimately select, it will be unifying to this community.”
In November 2006, The Board of Directors of Stadium Jumping Inc., in a unanimous vote, rejected a proposed term sheet offer by Mark Bellissimo on behalf of the Wellington Equestrian Partners for the show grounds and facility at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club on Pierson Road in Wellington. At the same time, they authorized their agents to move forward immediately in search of a viable alternative location for the show season beginning in 2009. Since then, the group has assembled a world class team of professionals that are directed to ensure the permanency of the showgrounds in the community for years to come.
One of the world’s largest and most respected producers of equestrian events, Stadium Jumping, Inc., has produced the highly successful Winter Equestrian Festival since its inception in Wellington in 1979. The company also manages the National Horse Show and Family Festival, now in its fifth year at the same show grounds. Before the equestrian tour moved to Wellington, Stadium Jumping created and operated the long running Sunshine Circuit in other parts of the State of Florida. The company also manages equestrian events in Lake Placid, NY, New Albany, Ohio, Tampa, FL, and in Cleveland, Ohio.
PHOTO: Architectural rendering of proposed site plan. Courtesy of Stadium Jumping, Inc.
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