Exciting News for the City of High Point
Last week, local Philanthropist and High Point University President, Dr. Nido Qubein pledged to raise $38 million to match city investments and to invest in development around High Point’s new stadium complex. As High Point residents and business owners, we are excited about the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead for our great city.
A Letter to the High Point Community
HPU President Nido Qubein delivered the keynote address at Wednesday’s Annual Meeting of the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau. Nearly 600 community leaders packed the High Point Country Club as President Qubein shared his expanded vision for our city. Below is an open letter to High Point citizens penned by Dr. Qubein following the meeting. It appears also in the Sunday, May 21 edition of the High Point Enterprise.
Last Wednesday, at the Annual Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) meeting, I publicly accepted the request from Forward High Point to lead some development efforts associated with the downtown catalyst project. The baseball stadium concept is the brainchild of the CVB. And to be sure, it is an exciting project that holds great promise for our community.
High Point has been my chosen home for almost 50 years. We are happy here and we love our city. So, when Forward High Point unanimously passed a resolution asking me to lend my experience for the downtown project, I was compelled to say yes. My involvement is strictly as a volunteer. I have no financial interest or stake in this development project in any way. My sole interest is purely to help High Point thrive.
In accepting the request to lead this effort, I have personally pledged to secure from philanthropic donors tens of millions of dollars to energize the area surrounding the proposed baseball stadium with new projects that will benefit our community. These funds will match, dollar for dollar, the city’s proposed commitment – doubling the original investment for this transformational catalyst project. Add to that an equal amount from private developers likely to construct a hotel and apartments and you have a 2:1 ratio of private to public funds. Extraordinary!
The support and encouragement I’ve received for committing to help lead the charge have been inspiring. I believe that with faithful courage, we can ignite our city once again with the spirit of innovation, optimism, and resolve. Of course, it will also require a clear vision, a solid strategy, and consistent execution.
Some people are opposed to the baseball stadium. While some have termed this group as “naysayers,” I prefer to think of them as thoughtful dissenters. I respect the insightful questions being asked and the legitimate concern expressed by some for the future of our city.
So, to ensure that all citizens understand the specifics of the new vision and challenge that go beyond just a stadium, I want to highlight key points here:
$38,000,000 in Donations to Match City Investment
If our community unifies to make the stadium a reality, my pledge as a lifelong High Point resident is to secure $38 million from donors by September 15 to invest in development around the stadium. This can happen before construction of the stadium begins – doubling the city’s planned investment figures.
Of course, there is risk with a ballpark. But the guarantee of private donations BEFORE ground has been broken on the stadium will greatly improve the pathway towards success – and cements a genuine public-private partnership. Once we begin improving and energizing this area, it will no doubt invite developers who want to invest and be part of the revitalization. I believe that in addition to the $38 million in private donations, we will be able to attract an additional $40-50 million or more from developers to build apartments, restaurants, and a hotel.
The City’s Stadium Will Have A Naming Rights Contract
The stadium will be built and owned by the city. A part of the philanthropic donations will secure a naming rights fee, which the city will receive in equal amounts over a ten-year period.
Baseball Team to be owned by Local Non-Profit Entity
We will create a High Point-based, non-profit board to lease the stadium from the city, as well as own and manage the baseball team. The philanthropic donations will pay for the team. And the team will always remain in our city because it will be locally owned and managed by a community board, not individual investors. The non-profit board’s focus will be on operating a first-class baseball experience and contributing to additional development around the ballpark. No one on the board will have any personal economic benefit in any way.
Children’s Museum, Public Park, & Event Center… It’s More than Just Baseball
In cooperation and collaboration with Forward High Point, part of the donations will fund the construction of facilities like a Children’s Museum, an Events Center, and a public park for families to enjoy. These additional attractions will encourage families to meet, fellowship, and enjoy events in and around the stadium. Once constructed with private funds, these crowd-drawing attractions will be donated to the city of High Point. While baseball will anchor the new downtown, these additions will create a hub of activity in the revitalization corridor. The magic is in the mix: sporting events, educational programming, civic meeting space, public park and more – all collectively create a dynamic city center that attracts crowds year-round.
This is not HPU’s Stadium. But HPU Wants to Ensure Downtown Success.
HPU already has a wonderful stadium and there is no economic or operational benefit for HPU in this new downtown stadium. From the University’s perspective, our interest in this project is merely about growing a city that is vibrant, more livable, and more attractive to families, professionals, and graduates. HPU will make a significant financial contribution and will encourage graduate students, faculty, and staff to live and shop in this new development. And we will bring the talents and brain trust of our prestigious faculty who will lend their expertise to this important project for our city. We believe that a thriving university should exist within a thriving town. Together, we lift one another up.
The Time Is Now
I believe in the successful future of our city, just as I believed we could transform High Point University as a nationally recognized institution when I became president in 2005.
In the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, we look forward to partnering with Forward High Point, City officials, our City Council, and you.
I pray that God will pull our community together as we move forward with commitment, conviction, and creativity. Our future can be abundantly promising. Our city is blessed with many strengths including responsible leaders, loyal citizens, and people with passion to persevere through challenges and opportunities. The time is now. It is up to us.
Together. Yes. We. Can.
Nido R. Qubein
Image sources: Odell Associates