A project unique of its kind, The Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village represents many things - America’s Disneyland of Football, Canton, Ohio’s renaissance and an innovative approach to business partnerships. A vision that started with Industrial Realty Group Founder and President, Stu Lichter, the ambitious project is in a new category of sports-focused, mixed-use developments that are appearing around the country. Established in 1963 as the birthplace of the NFL, Mr. Lichter wanted to expand the Pro Football Hall of Fame with amenities like a youth field complex, a hotel, retail shops, a conference center and entertainment. “Wouldn’t that be a cool thing?” he said. “It would be a place where all the football fans in the country can go 365 days a year.”
In turning an underdeveloped shrine to the heroes of America’s favorite sport into a $750 million mixed-use center of entertainment, residences, offices, research and health care, Mr. Lichter and the Pro Football Hall of Fame looked to Jeff Marks who led the multimillion-dollar naming rights agreement. The result, which put the Johnson Controls name on the sports and entertainment village for the next 18 years, ranks in the top 80th percentile of sports naming-rights deals. The Village expects 4 million visitors annually to experience the immersive technology and next generation products of global brands coming together on the single largest development in Canton’s history.