Anderson baseball-complex plan hits financing snag

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Construction on The Farm, a baseball and softball facility along Interstate 69, has hit another snag while city officials and project developers continue to negotiate acceptable financing terms.

Earlier this month, the Anderson Redevelopment Commission voted 4-0 to rescind its approval of a debt service reserve fund, which would be replenished with tax increment financing funds if needed.

"Effectively, the Redevelopment Commission under the new mayor rescinded that resolution, causing us to revisit financing for the project," said Brad Benbow, an investor in The Farm. "The second thing that has happened that's an issue is that the city has refused to release funds from the bond anticipation note, which was already being drawn upon."

The project struggled to secure permanent financing last year when bond sales failed to materialize. Eventually, Star Financial Bank agreed to buy the bonds, but only with the added security of the reserve fund.

The city had already guaranteed $6 million in bonds, plus a $1.5 million contribution by investors, to finance the $7.5 million project, and approved a bond anticipatory note for up to $4 million, to help get construction started.

Anderson's financial package was intended to show the city's support for the athletic park, which includes a 105,000-square-foot indoor facility and 12 baseball and softball diamonds encompassing 72 acres. The city announced the project in January 2011.

The city and the bank were set to close on the bond sale late last year, when The Farm developers announced the group didn't want to pay its $1.5 million contribution at closing, but in three installments, with the first payment to occur at the end of this month and two others to occur at later, unspecified dates.

The request was akin to someone agreeing to buy a house with an agreed upon down payment, and then showing up at the closing only to say they didn't want to make the payment, said a source close to the negotiations.

"Everything was set to go," said Ann Marie Bauer, an attorney who represents the Redevelopment Commission. "The project came back and said 'we don't want to put our whole equity infusion at closing.' There was definitely surprise."

The Ockomon administration rejected The Farm's proposal and canceled the bond closing, effectively throwing responsibility for final approval of the plan into the hands of new Mayor Kevin Smith's administration.

New City Controller Sam Pellegrino said he reviewed the proposed terms of the bond sale, and is asking The Farm to agree to an additional list of requirements including loan covenants, personal guarantees from investors, financial capability statements and financial reporting requirements.

"My job, as I define it, is to look out for the best interests of the taxpayers and what liabilities we may inherit," said Smith. "Everything we're doing right is focused on protecting the taxpayers from a financial perspective."

Nobody is saying The Farm isn't a good project, said Greg Winkler, Anderson's interim economic development director,

"The city certainly wants The Farm LLC to succeed," he said. "The question is how we find a more equitable way to share the risk and the reward."


  • Call Carmel
    Anderson needs call Carmel. They can easily tell Anderson how to finagle this deal using taxpayer's dollars, new loans from a shell corporation to pay off these loans to raise ready cash and then eventually make big money for all of the players. And if Anderson could find something that they own that they could sell and borrow money to buy back and then sell it again they could really get this thing going.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.