Sunday, January 13, 2019

Latest Indy Eleven stadium update

Last Thursday, the Indianapolis Business Journal released an article discussing a $550 million development that includes a stadium. From the article:
The Indy Eleven on Thursday unveiled a proposal for a $550 million mixed-use real estate district that would include a 20,000-seat outdoor soccer stadium as the team continues its quest to join Major League Soccer.
Ozdemir said he envisions the development, called Eleven Park, as a “transformational urban project” within the city.
Ozdemir said discussions with city and state officials have included where the development would best be located, noting there are “several sites in downtown Indianapolis” and one elsewhere that are viewed as good fits for the team. He declined to share the locations but said the team hopes to finalize the selection soon. 
The proposed stadium, slated to be ready for the 2022 season opener, would be surrounded by multiple apartment and office buildings, offering tenants views of the field from their windows.

The development is expected to include 600 apartments, more than 100,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of office space and a 200-room boutique hotel. The office space would be geared toward technology-driven companies and already has received interest from undisclosed multiple parties, according to Ozdemir.
Kennedy wasn’t available to discuss the proposed financial structure of the project, which differs from those used to build Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, largely because the Eleven plan includes adjacent development that could generate tax revenue to help pay for the project. Like both of those stadiums, the Eleven proposal would redirect tax revenue to fund construction.

The Eleven Park proposal calls for enactment of new Professional Sports Development Area, or PSDA, and tax-increment financing district overlays limited to the park’s boundaries, as well as a 10 percent ticket tax.

The overlays would capture all tax revenue generated within the district for the purpose of funding construction of the stadium.

Developer-backed bonds would be issued to pay for the stadium, which is estimated to cost $150 million. Tax overlays on revenue generated by the rest of the development, which would be funded with $400 million in private investment, would be expected to cover payments on the bonds.
The Eleven played its 2018 season in Lucas Oil Stadium on a rent-free basis. But Ozdemir said the stadium is too large to be a long-term solution. He pointed to difficulty in scheduling games and the desire for the team to have “a permanent home” in Indianapolis.
An announcement is expected within months on a new investor group for both the team and the Eleven Park development.
So those are the basics of what we know from the article. An article, from the rumors, that was released a day ahead of when the Indy Eleven planned for it to be released. An article that was followed the next day by the Indy Star indicating that the Indy Eleven were in talks to buy the property of the former Broad Ripple High School, which didn't seem to be what the team wanted to have mentioned yet. Not exactly the way the team wanted to go into the weekend.

The above is where I was going to leave it and let Kevin Johnston and Brian Cook write their thoughts on the proposal. Brian has already written his article and I look forward to reading Kevin's take. Yet, three of my six readers requested my input so here we go...

The name Eleven Park? I called it that in January 2015. I'm good with the name.

Building it as part of a development and using that to help with paying the loan? I discussed that in May 2015 (specifically around a location on the campus of IUPUI, but it would apply in other locations).
After that, work into the design that the stadium be a mixed-use building like so many of the new apartment complexes going in around the city.  Depending on the new orientation of the stadium, both the revised New York Street and the University Boulevard sides of the stadium could have street-front shops like the example below, which is close to campus.
Instead of apartments above, you have a stadium. Hell, have apartments too where rent includes a season ticket, if it helps get the stadium built. Fill the shops with businesses that cater to both soccer fans, as well as college students. A soccer-specific bar (that should be easy), small restaurants, maybe even a grocery store since there aren't too many in that area. Using the same funding mechanism that was included in the House bill, that means that every dollar that goes through the stadium and all of those businesses can be used to pay back the loan. This could make the funding much more palatable to the legislature. However, with these kinds of businesses built directly into the stadium, this creates even more potential for investment from private financiers.
Guess I'm good with that too.

Location to be determined? I've discussed that ad nauseam. Here, here, herehere, & here. None of which includes Broad Ripple because I can't imagine that it would ever be an effective location and one that the team would seriously consider. Bargaining chip? Probably. But didn't Ersal building a parking garage in Broad Ripple that wasn't that well received? Hasn't it been stated since the inception of the stadium talks that downtown was the preferred location. Broad Ripple is not downtown.

Lucas Oil Stadium isn't a long-term solution? Said that before too.

From the Press Release (emphasis mine):
Eleven Park has proposed to privately develop and finance the office, retail, apartment and boutique hotel portions of the project. Taxes that are generated on the property as a result of the private development are proposed to be utilized to help finance the stadium and public areas which are proposed to be owned by the Capital Improvement Board and financed by the City of Indianapolis by developer backed bonds. Indy Eleven is proposing to the lease the stadium and pay all operating expenses as well as any cost overruns, creating no risk or exposure for the taxpayer.
To me that sounds like taxes that are generated from a private development are going toward another facility that many feel should also be a private facility and, therefore, won't be able to be used to fund other public needs like schools, roads, and sewers. How well has that been received in the past?

With the exception that "Melina Kennedy, president of the CIB, said her group “generally supports” the Eleven Park concept," it all seems repetitive and just as likely to get enough support as the past iterations. Particularly since "the proposal calls for enactment of new Professional Sports Development Area, or PSDA" and I can't find a proposed bill in the current General Assembly that would include it. Which means it would need to be attached to something else and that never goes over that well.

So what would I suggest you ask? Well, I've covered that before too over the years...

There are my thoughts on the newest Indy Eleven stadium. Seems like we've been in these waters before.
However, I still think the team needs to continue to focus on a downtown location, figure out a way to get private investors on board, even if that means designing mix-use features into the stadium, and the location of Carroll Stadium is growing on me provided the logistics during the construction phase can be determined.

Maybe one day I'll be able to write about the actual stadium and my experience in it instead of potential locations and grocery stores.

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