A privately-funded group in northwest Indiana has unveiled details of a proposed $75 million sports and entertainment destination in Portage. Catalyst Lifestyles LLC Managing Director Tony Czapla says the more than 170-acre Sport Resort would include a 165,000 square-foot dome, 150-room hotel and a cable wakeboard park on a 15-acre lake. He says Portage is the ideal location because it’s within a 200-mile radius of 29 million people and attracts three million annual visitors to the Indiana Dunes.
The resort plans also include two 60,000 square-foot domed facilities that would house an indoor drive-in movie theater and an indoor water park.
Czapla says Portage, which he calls a "community of dreamers and doers," would be the first location in a national network. "Overtime, we will expand into nine other sites around the country. Our goal is essentially to put a Sport Resort within a tank of gas from anyone within the Lower 48 states."
He says the resort has already attracted global attention since quietly releasing pictures of the plans on Facebook just days ago. "The idea that somewhere in a cold weather climate you would have a wakeboard park was phenomenal to them. We’ve had people commenting about the campground, because in addition to all the traditional stuff, we’ll have tree houses as well." Czapla recalled an interaction during a recent international convention in Louisiana with an official from a Chinese-American basketball league that was excited about the prospect of watching a movie while sitting in a 1965 Ford Mustang.
The project is a long time in the making and will soon take its turn before elected and appointed officials. Developers purchased the property from the city early last year for $6 million. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report plans are set to be reviewed by the Development Review Committee and could go before the Portage Plan Commission March 7.
Czapla says he is "cautiously optimistic" that work can begin next month and stakeholders could hold a soft opening for a portion of the full project by year’s end.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Catalyst Lifestyles LLC Managing Director Tony Czapla says the resort will cater to an underserved market.