Thursday, May 2, 2024

A resolution for a second stadium location

Tonight, I read through Resolution #2024-E-021  (that was approved with a 7-1 vote) from the Metropolitan Development Commission (MDC) that creates a second professional sports development area, seemingly in competition with the one we all expected was being created for Eleven Park. This resolution and step from the MDC is consistent with what Mayor Hogsett indicated he had begun doing when he made the MLS bid announcement last week. The resolution was approved without public comment, sending a bunch of Indy Eleven supporters home early. The supporters were there to offer their opinion on this new professional sports development area versus the one that was believed to have begun when Indy Eleven and Keystone began demolition on the Diamond Chain site for Eleven Park. The Commission voted, and then moved on with their regularly scheduled meeting agenda items, which included a good discussion about the horrible athletic facilities for Crispus Attucks High School for those that stuck around.

The resolution has a bunch of legal language so it's not all the easiest read, but this quick post (insomnia is good for something I guess) is a summary of some of what I think are interesting pieces of the resolution: 

  • It looks like the Mayor is trying to take full advantage of the non-contiguous language from the original law. Properties are scattered throughout downtown. I found the property owners of every single property listed and seemingly all of them are existing businesses or City-owned properties. Many of them are parking lots, including a bunch of lots located south of Lucas Oil Stadium.
    • Notable City-owned or adjacent properties include the old City Hall and its parking lots, the City Market, the Marion County Jail. 
    • Other notable (one will be discussed in more detail later and so isn't listed here) properties include the Stutz Building, the Gold Building, Shapiro's, Emmis Entertainment, 1 North Pennsylvania, and a few Eli Lilly parking lots.
  • I'm not sure how well the use of existing properties meets the language of the law that allows for the professional sports development area. I reread the language from the law (insomnia is rough, ya'll), and Section 5.(b)(3) states, "the project...will protect or increase state and local tax bases and tax revenues." Utilizing a bunch of existing properties doesn't really "increase" the bases or revenues. The stadium should though. Maybe that's enough.
There were two addresses that were listed separately from the rest of the properties. Interesting about those were that they just happen to be addresses for the Circle City Mall that was recently acquired by Hendricks Commercial Properties. Bottlework, which is also a Hendricks Commercial Properties property was also listed with the larger list of properties. It really makes me wonder how much more Hendricks may be involved in this process, MLS bid, etc. I can't imagine their part of the MLS bid application unless the MLS ownership group reached out to them as their developer in lieu of Keystone. 

The rest of the language seemed pretty consistent with the law language. It did say that if Tax Area #1 is used, then Tax Area #2 is terminated, and if Tax Area #2 is used, then Tax Area #1 is terminated. This clearly pushes Keystone's property out if the Mayor's area gets used. 

This is just my opinion, but it seems like Mayor Hogsett is trying to expedite the process by using existing properties as part of the "development," which could also coincide with a cheaper stadium. So instead of trying to find financing for a $250M stadium plus another +$750M for the development pieces, the entire thing gets simplified to just funding for just a stadium, maybe in the $100M to $150M range, which makes everything get done easier and faster. If that opinion has any merit, why he seemingly isn't discussing that with Keystone is unknown to me. Or maybe those conversations have taken place and Ersal and Keystone have not been receptive. Maybe Ersal's consistent appearance that he wants to remain the majority owner and do things his way is playing into the Mayor's actions since there is a time crunch on the law. Maybe Ersal is his own worst enemy right now.

Maybe my gut feeling that the Mayor didn't look like he was happy about last week's announcement, because he knew how it would be perceived, was accurate. Maybe he's trying to find some kind of loophole in the law by using the existing properties to provide a lifeline to Ersal/Keystone/Indy Eleven and not a noose. It's a weird way of going about it, but until we hear more from everybody, it feels like we're getting two sides of the story, when we all know there are three; his, his, and the truth.

Again, I really don't know, but the singled out appearance of Hendricks Commercial Properties, who have experience with developing a stadium, really caught my attention, and now has my brain going in overdrive, which is why I'm writing this as 2:00 AM.

Links for you to do your own reading:

Meeting Minutes
Declaratory Resolution

No comments: