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City committee checks box on downtown taxing district for soccer stadium

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November 21, 2023


A City-County Council committee on Monday night recommended the creation of a new downtown taxing district to support a proposed 20,000-seat soccer stadium—a key component of Indy Eleven and Keystone Group owner Ersal Ozdemir’s $1.5 billion Eleven Park project.

The resolution, which unanimously passed the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee, allows for the creation of a new professional sports development area, or PSDA.

The district would collect various taxes to cover a portion of the cost for the stadium at the proposed Eleven Park development, slated to occupy the former Diamond Chain Manufacturing Co. site southwest of the Mile Square along the White River. The first phase of the project is now under construction.

The PSDA would generally rely on state retail taxes, local and state income taxes, and food and beverage taxes collected within the district, but the resolution for the district also allows innkeepers taxes and admission taxes to be used.

The full City-County Council during its December meeting will consider the measure, which also passed the independent Metropolitan Development Commission on Nov. 1.

The Eleven Park project still would require several approvals from local government bodies in coming months.

The city continues to work with Keystone Group to establish additional incentives for the Eleven Park development. Keystone also must sign a deal with the city’s Capital Improvement Board (which also operates the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium), designating the board as the stadium’s owner.

The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation for the PSDA in 2019, permitting state tax contributions of up to $9.5 million per year toward debt service on the soccer stadium, as long as Indy Eleven and Keystone Group owner Ersal Ozdemir or his firm contribute at least 20% of the venue’s overall cost.

The city and CIB are working with Chicago-based firm Hunan Partners to finalize a feasibility study, evaluating how much revenue could be generated by both the stadium itself and the Eleven Park project as a whole. Once that is completed, bonds will be pursued for the project.

Before the PSDA is finalized, the city must complete its feasibility study and submit those findings to the state budget committee. That process must be completed by July 1, 2024.

Kelly Mulder, vice president of development for Keystone Group, said Monday that the expected cost of the development has risen recently from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The project as proposed includes the stadium, 600 apartments, 205,000 square feet of office space, 197,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 4,000-seat indoor music venue. It also would include extensive green space and an amphitheater.

The proposed boundaries for the PSDA include the entire 20-acre site, but go beyond the property to form a piecemeal, non-contiguous district made up of properties throughout downtown. All the properties are within a one-mile radius of the Eleven Park site, as required by law.

Those include numerous hotel properties like the planned Motto by Hilton at 1 N. Meridian St. and the Kimpton hotel project at 1 N. Pennsylvania St. It also includes the 220 N. Meridian St. office tower and the still-under-construction InterContinental Hotel at 17 W. Market Street—both of which are owned by Keystone Group.

The PSDA also includes the former General Motors stamping plant property on the west bank of the White River, a portion of which is being redeveloped into a headquarters for Elanco Animal Health Inc.

The new PSDA would be the second in downtown Indianapolis, joining another created in 199. It captures state income and sales taxes collected at Lucas Oil Stadium, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Victory Field and 13 downtown hotels, including the downtown Marriott, the JW Marriott, the Westin and the Hyatt Regency.

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