Mark Calitri speaks: Sports tourism leads a post Covid economic recovery for Owensboro… Old Macy’s may become sports complex


A group of local investors — Owensboro Indoor Sports LLC — has bought the old Macy’s property at Towne Square Mall for $1.25 million.

Jim Estes, spokesman for the group, said, “We’re willing to do whatever the city wants out there.”

Macy’s announced in January that it was pulling out of Owensboro, leaving the 80,000-square-foot anchor location empty.

Estes said the local group began working to buy the store and the seven acres that Macy’s owned there.

Mayor Tom Watson said the project will require “some government help. It’ll need to be remodeled for indoor sports. But I couldn’t be happier. I’m excited that we’re keeping it in local hands.”

In December, Jack Wells, Matt Hayden and others bought the 35-acre mall site from Kohan Retail Investment for $5.15 million.

The sale did not include the Macy’s property, which the retail chain owned separately from the mall.

In 2018, the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau approved a $12,500 contract with Pinnacle Indoor Sports of Louisville for a study of the community’s needs for sports facilities.

It recommended, among other things, that a 60,000-square-foot indoor sports facility be built.

The study suggested that an indoor facility have four hard-floor courts, with room for basketball, volleyball, archery and any other sport that could be played indoors.

The Owensboro Convention Center was originally to be used for sports as well as conventions and trade shows.

But, for the most part, that didn’t happen.

CVB officials have had their eyes on the mall for two years.

Mark Calitri, CVB president, said Wednesday, “I’m looking forward to hearing more.”

Estes said the Macy’s building meets the height requirement for indoor sports and is larger than the study recommended.

He said a lot of people think Frederica Street is becoming a “ghost town.”


Visit Owensboro is the official destination marketing organization for Owensboro and Daviess County Kentucky. Mark Calitri serves as President/CEO.

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