An ambitious sports complex capable of hosting professional soccer matches is moving forward in Conyers, aiming to open in time for Atlanta’s World Cup hoopla in 2026.
Dutch developer Patrick Vierhout, owner of the East Atlanta Dutch Lions football club and Sportiff USA Sports Apparel, has purchased 286 acres adjacent to the Georgia International Horse Park that hasn’t changed much since Conyers welcomed the world for equestrian and mountain-biking events during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.
At the core of Vierhout’s vision is a 10,000-seat, versatile outdoor soccer stadium that would serve as home base for a women’s professional soccer team, as the Rockdale Citizen reports. The facility could also host World Cup matches, draw legions of visitors, and bring roughly 700 jobs to the site 33 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
The Conyers City Council approved a sale of the land for $7.1 million to Vierhout’s Sportiff Real Estate LLC earlier this month. He now has 45 days from June 7 to provide the city detailed concepts for what the complex would feature beyond the outdoor stadium, all situated just north of Interstate 20.
Other facets, per Vierhout’s proposal and renderings, would include a 400-room hotel, complexes for both tennis and track and field, retail shops, a disc golf course, an education building, and a manufacturing facility for Sportiff sports apparel, alongside four restaurants and a bar. An indoor sports complex, built in partnership with Spooky Nooks Sports, would span 675,000 square feet with playing fields and courts for a variety of sports, according to the newspaper.
Vierhout’s timeline calls for quickly completing the outdoor stadium and sports facilities as the first phase in about two years—in time to potentially host World Cup matches.
As opposed to other big ideas for the acreage over the years, Vierhout’s proposal includes no tax abatements or free land, city officials noted. Conyers Mayor Vince Evans told the newspaper the development would be “the biggest thing to happen to Conyers since the Olympics,” but will bring a more lasting impact than 17 days of events over one summer. The city has owned more than 1,100 acres in the area since the early 1990s, when it created equestrian facilities still considered a top draw today.
But don’t fret, cycling and equestrian enthusiasts of Atlanta: Vierhout has vowed that mountain biking and horseback riding trails established as part of the Conyers Olympic venue will remain.
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