Batting cages may be the next and newest sporting endeavour in the old Canfisco location after a presentation by Kerrianne Smith of Swingsmith Cages to Prince Rupert City Council on Feb. 28.
Smith presented her business plan and arguments for being chosen as an appropriate entity for some of the space in the property where the Prince Rupert Gymnastics Club has recently leased, renovated and is operating out of.
Located at the Canfisco waterfront, the facility would result in a cluster of recreational activities within that proposed Marina District, Smith said.
“It’s a special dimension of placemaking in Prince Rupert. It’s the full realization of the Parks and Recreation recreation system.”
Swingsmith Cages will be an indoor state-of-the-art batting cage with holographic images of major league stadiums, she said, bringing in a projected income of $316,000 for the first year with an anticipated $180,000 in start-up budget.
“So what that means is when you walk into the door, it’ll feel like you’re walking into a major league stadium. There’ll be five different pitching machines with a variation of speeds,” Smith said, adding that will include slowpitch to baseball, as well as a medium and a fast pitch.
Her vision incorporates a pro shop with logoed clothing, baseball, and softball equipment.
“Right now, there is nowhere in Prince Rupert to buy bats and gloves. As well, there’s going to be the first pizza by the slice in [the city] at the Dug Out.
The operation will use Hit Trax technology, an advanced training system that allows off-season play.
The interactive setup can host tournaments and fall leagues linking players of different levels from all over North America.
Smithcages will focus on three primary customer groups based on preliminary survey information completed in October.
The first will be Prince Rupert residents ages 15 to 50 who play sports, potentially tapping into a population market of 2634, with coaches and children from six to 18 most looking to have fun, she said.
“It’s also important to note that their main form of transportation is carpooling and foot. Out of 2270 kids 43.2 per cent play sport giving me an estimate of 981 kids. My next profile would be tourism and that’ll mostly be out-of-town ballplayers and cruise ship patrons.”
Smith said with more than 17,000 cruise ship passengers stepping foot in Prince Rupert during 2017 and 2018, it’s important for her business vision that the batting cages be located within walking distance to the cruise ship terminal and downtown.
“It’s a positive contribution to recent developments in the areas. There are location advantages of being in the Marine District. There is a collaboration of organizations that want to work together to build a multi-sports complex.
“[The batting cages] are consistent with the social benefits of Prince Rupert, the quality of life principle and the placemaking vision.”
To make this happen, the batting cage operation needs facilities with 17 ft high ceilings, a floor space of at least 1,600 square feet. She said a three-year lease at $6.50 sqft was proposed to the council, with financing being secured in the next couple of months.
The presentation allowed further consideration and conversation once funding was in place, Lee Brain, city mayor, said.
“It’s hard not to be excited about what’s happening in Prince Rupert in the next couple of years. I believe Swingsmith would be a huge attribution to this,” Smith said.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multi-Media Journalist
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