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SPIRE Institute sports complex acquired by Baltimore-based Axxella

"Our intent is to build upon the work already begun at Spire," Axxella's CEO said in a release.

GENEVA, Ohio — Geneva's SPIRE Institute, one of the nation's largest sports facilities, has been acquired by Baltimore-based investment firm Axxella. 

Real estate brokerage Colliers International announced in March that the 750,000 square foot sports complex was up for sale. According to a release from Markets Insider, Brian Hurtuk and Mark Abood of Colliers International brokered the transaction. 

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SPIRE boasts indoor and outdoor training and competition facilities, making it unique in the track and field arena. Its indoor facilities can host up to 6 basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts. Spire also has two full-sized indoor soccer fields and one outdoor stadium field. The facility is also home to a state-of-the-art Olympic-sized pool.

"Our intent is to build upon the work already begun at SPIRE" said Jonathan Ehrenfeld, Axxella CEO in a statement. "We recognize the importance of this complex to Northeast Ohio. As we build out the programming and facility footprint of SPIRE to appeal to a broader local, regional, national and international audience, we will do so in ways that will cause the surrounding community to always be proud of the tremendous resource that is SPIRE."

Axxella says it plans to make the most out of its acquisiton of SPIRE by expanding a number of strategic areas, including:

  1. Athletics: academy sports, camp programs, leagues, club programming, as well as skills development and specialty training.
  2. Academics: college prep education, academic camps, as well as personal growth and career development opportunities.
  3. Events: special event and tournament opportunities within a broad array of sports.
  4. Recreation: exciting new programs and activities for all ages.
  5. Facilities: student residence housing, college prep academic center, and more.

There is no word on how much Axxella paid to acquire SPIRE, but The Ashtabula Star Beacon reported in July of 2018 that the 170-acre property once valued at $55 million had recently been appraised at "about $7 million at best." About 100 acres of the property still remain underdeveloped. 

The appraisal also showed that SPIRE generated an average of $4.1 million in revenue from 2013 to 2017.

SPIRE was owned by Roni Lee LLC, which opened the facility in 2009 under a different name. Last year, SPIRE CEO Ron Clutter agreed to a deal with Ashtabula County in which SPIREZ would pay $3.9 million in back and future taxes from 2010 to 2026. In light of a potential sale, that deal would reportedly transfer to the new owner.

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