Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center Expansion
The Scottsdale City Council has approved a $42.8 million expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at WestWorld. The project will expand, enclose and climate control the Equidome at WestWorld in order to accommodate events year-round.
Producers of many new equestrian shows have expressed strong interest in coming to WestWorld if a larger, climate-controlled arena was available. In addition, producers for some of the current shows would like to add new shows and possibly expand the number days of their existing shows when a larger, enclosed WestWorld arena becomes available. The expansion will make this possible.
The expansion will also add 40,000 square feet of space to host special events at the facility. The expanded equidome will become the new home to the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and will eventually replace the temporary tent structure that currently hosts the Barrett-Jackson auction and other events.
It is the project’s intent that the new shows and expanded existing shows would create additional direct rental revenue to WestWorld. In addition, the shows would create additional exhibitors and audience participants. These in turn would increase hotel room nights increasing the bed tax revenue for the city. It is also reasonable to expect an increase in city sales tax revenue.
WestWorld enjoys the recognition of being one of the premier locations for equestrian events. During its 27 year history, the facility has grown tremendously in the number and type of events.
Today, the equestrian function of WestWorld is complemented by an increasing number of non-equestrian events ranging from dog shows to auto auctions. All the events, equestrian and other, provide great financial benefits to the community as well as contribute to the Scottsdale brand.
WestWorld’s historic success is grounded in its equestrian events. Each of the past few years, more than 70 equestrian events, utilizing over 247 use days have taken place with some 220,000 attendees.
To remain competitive, numerous improvements have been made to the equestrian facilities including new permanent barns and covering outdoor arenas to extend the amount of time they can be used each year. Nationally, competing facilities have also made improvements to increase their event activity and the economic benefits that come with equestrian events.
The expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center (equidome) will be funded by Municipal Property Corporation (MPC) Bonds. The principal and interest payment for the bonds will be made via WestWorld operating revenue, an allocation of bed taxes and third party contributions. Private fund commitments have been made by the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, the Arizona Quarter Horse Association and the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company.
The expanded arena complex is expected to be completed in late 2013. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012 and will be built in phases so that events may occur during a portion of the construction work.