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North Liberty planners to consider new indoor facility for Diamond Dreams Sports Academy

A rendering shows Diamond Dreams Sports Academy’s potential new facility in North Liberty could include an indoor batting park. (Rendering courtesy Grand Rail Construction and Development)
A rendering shows Diamond Dreams Sports Academy’s potential new facility in North Liberty could include an indoor batting park. (Rendering courtesy Grand Rail Construction and Development)

A sports academy that offers baseball, softball and football lessons and programs for young athletes is on deck in building a new facility in North Liberty.

The city planning commission Tuesday is scheduled to review site plans for a 21,475-square-foot indoor facility for Diamond Dreams Sports Academy, plus a 24,000-square-foot warehouse with 16 contractor units, on a vacant lot on Stoner Court within the I-380 Industrial Park.

The facility will include an indoor batting park, with eight cages designed to be retractable to make way for what essentially is an indoor diamond, said real estate agent Mike Bails, of Coralville’s Urban Acres Real Estate.

“Youth teams in the area will be able to come in and play actual simulated games,” he said.

There also will be open space behind the building, which the sports academy can use in holding outdoor instruction for athletes, and eventually develop for uses associated with its facility, city documents show.

The lot, currently owned by Stoner Court LLC, will have 125 total parking spaces once developed.

The value of the project has not been disclosed.

Diamond Dreams relocated in August from its location in Coralville to a new 12,000-square-foot facility on Stoner Court in North Liberty, with eight batting cages, fielding and pitching space, according to the sports academy’s Facebook page.

Bails said that facility will serve as a temporary space for Diamond Dreams until the new, larger building is finished, approximately a quarter-mile away.

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Construction could start after the site plans receive approval both from North Liberty’s planning commission and city council, with an expected opening date around spring or summer 2020, Bails said.

The same developer — Grand Rail Construction and Development, of North Liberty — in 2018 received approval on previous site plans that called for a second warehouse, with 22 units in a 33,000-square-foot building, where the sports center now is proposed.

Bails said that project was moving forward when Diamond Dreams relocated nearby, and “it ended up working out that there were compatible uses.”

A Diamond Dreams representative declined to comment when reached by phone Monday afternoon.

City staff recommended the planning commission approve the site plans, noting in the documents that, though there is “little synergy” between the proposed sports facility and warehouse, North Liberty’s zoning code permits more than one use in industrial-zoned lots.

North Liberty’s planning commission meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the city council chambers, at 1 Quail Creek Circle.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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