Johnson City, ETSU reps return from overseas trip seeking sports facility investors

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Johnson City leaders have returned from a trip overseas where they were trying to find investors for a new sports performance facility.

Johnson City Mayor David Tomita, City Manager Pete Peterson and commissioner Todd Fowler visited Taiwan and China.

Mayor Tomita said the trip was informative, but at this point it’s a waiting game to see what will happen next with the facility.

“The primary purpose of our trip was to go over and speak to some investors in China and Taiwan regarding a sports performance training facility here in Johnson City,” Tomita said.

He said during the trip they spoke with investors about the project and the potential market. He said there are a number of people from China and Taiwan who are seeking additional sports training from ETSU’s Sports Science Department.

“Probably one of the top programs in the world. So we were over there just trying to figure out how to leverage that asset that we have here in Johnson City to bring people over here for training” Tomita explained.

Tomita said having a brand new sports training facility would bring in people from all over the world, which would be great for tourism.

“The more people we can bring from out of Johnson City to come here and stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our malls, that’s the key going forward.”

Tomita said a lot of components still need to be worked out and no deal was made during the trip.

“You never close a deal on the first meeting. We made some great relationships over there, everybody that we talked to is very positive,” he said.

The original project was going to cost $50 million and it would have taken three to seven years to complete. So they discussed a time frame to do something quicker than that.

“This will be a phase project. Maybe two, at least two maybe three phases. So as that develops, we’ll certainly let you know,” he said.

One of the primary investors will be coming to Johnson City this weekend along with a Taiwanese baseball team training with Milligan College and ETSU.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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