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What’s next for Hall of Fame Village?

Updated: Jul 8



By Edd Pritchard

GateHouse Media Ohio

Posted Jul 4, 2020 at 5:00 PM


After nearly a year working to complete a merger, officials are ready for the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village project to move forward.

It’s taken nearly one year, and now the deal to combine HOF Village LLC with Gordon Pointe Acquisition is finished.

With the paperwork signed, work on Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village should resume.

The project had sputtered since the construction of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium to replace Fawcett Stadium, along with a number of youth football fields south of McKinley High School.

Developers are ready to move forward with construction of the Constellation Center for Excellence office building and research center west of the stadium. Plans also call for an indoor water park, field house and convention center, hotel and retail space.

The development now falls under direction of Hall of Fame Resort & Entertainment Co., a new entity created by the merger. The operation is headquartered in Canton.

Canton Mayor Thomas Bernabei called the merger great news for the city and a tremendous achievement.

“I couldn’t be more pleased,” he said hours after the close of Wednesday’s deal.

David Baker, president and chief executive officer of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, congratulated the new company “on this important step in an exciting project” that will impact the region for decades to come.

“As a significant minority owner, we are enthusiastic about moving onto the next phase,” Baker said.


What has happened?

Plans for creating a Hall of Fame Village, with facilities and amenities to help turn the Pro Football Hall of Fame into a tourist destination, started developing in 2014.

The Hall of Fame and Industrial Realty Group, based in Los Angeles, formed HOF VIllage LLC in late 2015. The new entity led efforts to build a new stadium and began development of other aspects of the project.

Plans called for completing construction of a hotel and other facilities this year.

Last July, officials with HOF Village began meeting with Gordon Pointe. That led to an Aug. 1 announcement that the businesses would merge.

The companies expected to close the deal earlier this year. Bernabei said uncertainty tied to the coronavirus pandemic left financial markets unstable and delayed the deal.

“They had many challenges,” Bernabei said. “But they secured the confidence of the New York financial markets.”

With the merger completed, the new company is able to access financing needed to move forward.


Where is it traded?

Shares of the new company are trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market, one of three listing tiers on the exchange.

The stock trades under the HOFV ticker symbol. During its initial trading day, the company’s stock opened at $10.74 per share. Traders exchanged more than 900,000 shares and the stock closed at $9.25.

Nasdaq Capital Markets is a listing tier for companies that need to raise capital, according to the investopedia.com site. Companies in the tier generally are small and becoming established.

To be listed, the companies must meet certain requirements and have a board of directors who enforce a corporate governance. The company must have independent directors, form an audit committee among board members and take other steps.

Other listing standards companies must meet include having 1 million publicly held shares, 300 shareholders and three market makers.

Before trading shares last Thursday, the new company had to submit an applications to Nasdaq for review.

Who is involved?


The new company will be led by familiar faces from HOF VIllage LLC.

Michael Crawford remains at the helm as president and chief executive officer, while Michael Levy recently joined the operation as president of operations. Jason Krom continues as chief financial officer and Anne Graffice is executive vice president of public affairs.

A board of directors will work with the management team.

Crawford, 52, will serve as chairman. The other board members are:

‒ James J. Dolan, former CEO and chairman of Gordon Pointe Acquisition, will be vice chairman;


‒ Stuart Lichter, president and chairman of Industrial Realty Group;

‒ Michael Klein, a partner of M. Klein and Co., based in New York;

‒ Anthony Buzzelli, a certified public accountant and former audit partner and advisory partner at Deloitte & Touche;

‒ David Dennis, also a CPA and former advisory sector leader for KPMG LLP’s state and local government advisory practice;

‒ Karl Holz, a former senior executive at Walt Disney Co.;

‒ Curtis Martin, a members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and founder of the Curtis Martin Job Foundation;

‒ Mary Owen, founder and president of MMO Capital LLC;


‒ Edward Roth III, president and CEO of Aultman Health Foundation and vice chairman of the Pro Football Hall of Fame; and

‒ Kimberly Schaefer, president of Two Bit Circus.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP

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