Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

June 4, 2013

Sports management official talks Lewiston rec center

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston's Civic Center proposal could soon find the strength of a powerful sports management firm behind it.

Dev Pathik, founder and chief executive officer of The Sports Facilities Advisory, visited Lewiston and Niagara Falls Tuesday to discuss the potential which excites a number of supporters of the proposed recreation center.

His firm has built itself into a strong company designed to both advise and manage facilities throughout the western hemisphere, with a combined $3.5 billion in projects from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Nassau, The Bahamas. He said his presence Tuesday reveals what could be a great future.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't think there was a real opportunity here with this building," he said. "But you have to do it right. That's why we're here."

By attending the meeting, which was open to the public and featured some detailed questions, Pathik has essentially sealed his company as the project's advisor — and possibly, down the road, manager. Though no official hiring has been made by the town, Supervisor Steve Reiter personally appealed to Pathik to look over financial projections and has pursued the company since February.

Having Pathik involved, though, might turn out to be a project killer, not the positive prophecy organizers are hoping for. He said the only reason he agreed to come aboard is his ability to recommend not to pursue the project further if the numbers his team finds simply aren't possible.

He warned meeting participants the occasion happens as frequently as giving a go-ahead.

How likely is that here in Niagara? The opportunity here has him intrigued because of the geographic area and the population centers located nearby. Long-term planning for the facility, he said, would look to pull participants for sporting tournaments from as far as five hours car-ride away, which features some of the largest cities in North America in Toronto and Detroit.

"You already have the tourism infrastructure in the area," he said. "And you have other things around for other family members to do, like Niagara Falls and the Maid of the Mist. I believe Lewiston may work. If you don't overbuild and are conservative, it'll work."

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.

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