A baseball academy that touts itself as a premier high school alternative for student players is setting its sights on relocating its Kissimmee facility to Ocoee.
TNXL Baseball Academy is seeking to develop a $500,000 project at Bob Sorenson Park, on about a half-acre lot behind the Tom Ison Senior and Veteran Center at 1701 Adair St., where it intends to house its office and training facilities.
The academy is currently located at Osceola County's Heritage Park, which recently inked a lease-deal with Orlando City Soccer and the Orlando Pride for their joint training center.
The intent to move was rubber-stamped by city commissioners last week in a unanimous vote to formulate a lease agreement between the city and TNXL.
Ocoee's economic development consultant, Angel de la Portilla, told GrowthSpotter they are discussing signing a 10-year lease agreement with a monthly rent of $3,500.
At that rate, the total rent paid to Ocoee over the course of the agreement amounts to a little more than $543,000, with terms of rent increases ranging between 3 percent to 5 percent a year.
TNXL will be responsible to construct the facility. The city plans to contribute about $46,000 to cover water and sewer connection charges, landscaping and fence removal, among other things, De la Portilla said.
The project will be financed with a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. As part of the deal, TNXL promises to spruce up the park by installing netting over its baseball fields and adding foul ball-lines and bullpen mounds for pitchers.
The academy is owned by former collegiate baseball player and overall baseball aficionado, Brian Martinez.
Since its inception in 2014, more than 50 players at TNXL have received scholarships to play college baseball and four have been drafted by Major League Baseball. The program currently has about 40 full-time players and 25 afternoon players.
In March 2020, TNXL will be joining a new youth baseball league sponsored by Prep Baseball Report (PBR), meaning TNXL's top team will participate in 16 games each season, with eight home games that are poised to be held on weekday mornings and afternoons.
Luring the academy is part of an overall effort by the city to bring more youth-sport programs as it develops its downtown. In addition to TNXL Baseball Academy, a new Top Gun competitive cheerleading gym is under construction along Bluford Avenue, De la Portilla said.
"These sports, they bring people to the city," he said. He adds that he expects more junior college teams to visit Ocoee with the move. "We want to see them staying in our hotels."