USA Basketball eyeing new city for headquarters, training complex for several years

May 24, 2013 Updated: May 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm
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photo - Parents and supporters of girls trying out for the USA U16 team peek through the windows at a gym at the Olympic Training Center on Friday, May 24, 2013. (Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)
Parents and supporters of girls trying out for the USA U16 team peek through the windows at a gym at the Olympic Training Center on Friday, May 24, 2013. (Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette) 

USA Basketball's flirtation with moving its headquarters has been going on for at least six years.

"It's been a topic for a long time," Jim Tooley, the national governing body's executive director, said Friday. "Right now we don't have anything to announce. It's premature to say anything."

USA Basketball came close to leaving a couple of years ago.

Glendale, Ariz., and the organization, based in Colorado Springs since January 1979, reached an agreement in 2008 to build a new $53.8 million, 75-acre complex in the Phoenix suburb that would have included a training center, offices, hotel, sports medicine clinic and fitness center.

But it fell through as the economy faltered and developers failed to find financing.

The 35-acre Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs has nine gymnasiums shared by 14 sports. The center is hosting the under-16 women's national team trials, which most athletes paid to enter, this weekend.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, was an advocate for Glendale.

"I went out of my way to help them find financing," he told the Arizona Republic newspaper in 2011.

USA Basketball backed out of the agreement in October 2010 after additional efforts to move the complex to a nearby site collapsed.

Messages with Colangelo attorney Tom O'Malley and the Arizona Commerce Authority, a state business development corporation founded by Colangelo, were not returned.

Colorado Springs and Louisville, Ky., were considered along with nine other communities in 2008.

The Glendale complex was to be the anchor tenant for HB Equities' 75-acre Main Street project, which was to include a resort, shopping and other commercial developments across the highway from University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

It was estimated at the time that the basketball complex would create 324 direct jobs, not counting construction work, and $26.5 million in Glendale tax revenues over 25 years. The annual economic boost of the development was predicted at $63.4 million.

No ground was broken. The land was sold to a car dealership chain in fall 2012.

The organization that became USA Basketball moved to the OTC in January 1979. Its dozen employees have worked out of a 18,000-square-foot building on Mark Dabling Boulevard since 1993.

Thanks to the USOC's move to Colorado Springs in 1978, 22 U.S. national governing bodies for individual Olympic sports are based in the area, including about 50 other organizations, such as the Mountain West Conference, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

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