STATE COLLEGE – An entrepreneur’s dream of building a sports facility became reality thanks to a loan partnership with SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) and Juniata Valley Bank.

The agency and bank partnered with owner Michael Lee to help fund the creation of Nittany Valley Sports Centre at 177 Champion Dr. Investment partners also helped finance the project. This created six full-time jobs and 10 to 20 part-time jobs, depending on the time of year.

“I’m excited to offer this opportunity for kids and everyone to play sports – that’s important,” Lee said.

The indoor sports and multipurpose facility has offerings for almost every occasion. The area’s competitive and recreational soccer organizations use it to participate in leagues, training, and facility rentals. The Centre offers athletic training through a Parisi Speed School franchise, along with sports clinics, sports tournaments, and summer youth sports camps. The Centre is available for other sports and non-sport activity rentals such as summer camps, birthday parties, school rentals, preschool programming, and more.

While Lee was an architectural engineer by education and trade, he came to realize it wasn’t his passion. After taking his daughter to a gymnastics competition in a large indoor sports facility, he saw the variety and opportunity a sports center offers.

“I thought, why doesn’t State College have a place like this? I asked around, and people said the area has needed a place like this for years. So, I hired a consultant to do a market study which showed it could support this,” Lee said.

However, because of the scale of the project and Lee’s lack of experience in that arena, banks were reluctant to fund the project alone. SEDA-COG bridges that gap and helps to spread the risk by offering various loans in addition to traditional lender financing.

John Reichard, SEDA-COG loan officer, said SEDA-COG was pleased to help make Lee’s project come to fruition.

“Michael faced many challenges to bring this project to reality since he first envisioned it. We were thrilled to bring a solution to the table to help him overcome some financing obstacles. His persistence and optimism are the hallmark of his success,” Reichard said. “Juniata Valley Bank was a fantastic partner in this project, as well.”

SEDA-COG secured a $2.4 million U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan which offers low down-payments, long terms, and fixed rates. Juniata Valley Bank financed the project with a $4 million loan.

“This made the bank more favorable toward loaning to the overall project cost. That’s the reality – we couldn’t have done it without the SBA component and SEDA-COG. SEDA-COG exists to make it easier, and they did,” Lee said.

Fred Wallace, bank vice president relationship manager, said it was an exciting project and are proud project partners.

“We are excited to be partners with Michael on his journey; we believe in the project. We’re thrilled to see that it’s taken off and running,” Wallace said. “Our partnership with SEDA-COG was first rate; we appreciate all the time and effort that John Reichard put into this project, not only with Michael, but also with us. We look forward to having a long-term relationship with Michael and SEDA-COG.”

The Centre opened in February 2019 and Lee is building a second phase addition that will support in-house basketball and volleyball, as well as a wide range of events including sports tournaments, trade shows, conventions, and more. This phase is funded by a state grant and is expected to open in November.

While Lee is from Vermont, he attended Penn State University and moved to State College permanently in 1998.

For more information about Nittany Valley Sports Centre, visit

The SEDA-COG Local Development Corporation, located in Lewisburg, is a Certified Development Company providing SBA 504 loans throughout the state of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit, email, or call 570-524-4491 and ask for the Business Finance Department.

Information Box:

SBA 504 loans: Long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization or to refinance existing real estate or equipment debt.

Benefits of SBA 504 loans:

    • · Long-term, fixed-rate financing (10 years for equipment and 20 or 25 years for real estate)
    • · Lower down-payment vs. conventional financing (as low as 10 percent for existing businesses)
    • · Financing up to 40 percent of eligible costs (land and building purchase, building construction, building renovations, equipment, refinancing of real estate or equipment debt)
    • · Loan is fully amortized (no balloon payment)

Eligibility: For-profit businesses with a net worth less than $15 million and net income less than $5 million.