In a statement, the airport authority said it wanted more community input before it considers the proposal by Athletes Business Network, which wants to build a sports medical complex specializing in brain trauma, a 20,000-seat stadium and two hotels of 250 rooms each.
Airport officials declined to say whether the delay was prompted by published revelations that ABN's co-founder, Craig Sanders, had a spotty business track record that included the bankruptcy of a chain of Dunkin' Donuts franchises and the imprisonment for theft of the chain's CEO.
ABN had signed a letter of intent that the board was to vote on and would have paved the way for a binding agreement in about two months.
The airport authority said it "will delay the agenda item involving the ABN letter of intent ... so we can further process community feedback and have additional conversations."
The rest of the meeting will proceed at 8:30 a.m. at the airport’s executive office, including consideration of a proposal by Holladay Properties to develop 300 acres near the proposed medical complex.The Star notes that City-County Councilor Jared Evans, whose district includes the site of the proposed development, had called on the board to delay action, primarily due to the checkered financial past of ABN's founder, Craig Sanders.
UPDATE: In response to the airport authority's decision to delay action on the proposal, ABN is threatening to explore other options, as if there are other more gullible takers. From the IBJ:
In its statement Friday, ABN noted that it was "gravely disappointed" with the authority's decision but would “welcome the opportunity to have further discussions … about ABN’s qualifications and ability to deliver a successful project.”
“It is our hope that the Airport Authority will move diligently to answer any remaining questions that it may have so as to limit any damage to the current momentum behind this project,” the statement read. “While we respect the process the Authority believes is prudent, this delay necessitates our need to explore other options.”
Later in the morning, ABN retracted the last part of its statement. Myra Borshoff, the spokeswoman for the company, told IBJ that officials decided the statement was "unnecessarily vague."
"ABN is committed to siting the project at the airport and will not entertain other options unless the Airport Authority determines not to proceed with our project," Borshoff wrote in an email.