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IBJ: MDC Approves Proposed Taxing District for Indy Eleven Stadium

November 1, 2023 | Mickey Shuey

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The Metropolitan Development Commission on Wednesday gave preliminary approval for the creation of a new downtown taxing district to support the Indy Eleven’s proposed soccer stadium.

The district, known as a professional sports development area, or PSDA, would allow for the collection of various taxes to cover a portion of the cost for the 20,000-seat stadium—a key component of Indy Eleven and Keystone Group owner Ersal Ozdemir’s $1 billion Eleven Park project.

The first phase of the development is under construction on the 20-acre site of the former Diamond Chain Manufacturing Co., just southwest of the Mile Square.

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

The MDC’s approval, which came by a 8-0 vote, sends the proposal to the City-County Council, where it will be introduced Nov. 13. But the move is also expected to be only the first of several government-related hurdles related to the project taken up by local government agencies in the coming months.

The city continues to work with Keystone Group to establish additional incentives for the Eleven Park development. Keystone must 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 enabling 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 Ozdemir or his firm contributed 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.

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 project at 1 N. Pennsylvania St., as well as the 220 N. Meridian St. office tower and the future InterContinental Hotel at 17 W. Market Street—both of which are owned by Keystone Group. It also includes some existing parking lot sites and other downtown locations the city is interested in having redeveloped.

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 1997 that 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, as well as the Colts’ practice venue on the northwest side.

The stadium is expected to be completed by mid-2025, in time for that Indy Eleven season.

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