2022 Newsmaker: Ozdemir’s flurry of projects includes plans for downtown stadium district

Ersal Ozdemir (IBJ file photo)

Ersal Ozdemir—the real estate developer who brought professional soccer to Indianapolis—has married his two passions in a proposed $1 billion mixed-use project planned for the Diamond Chain manufacturing site downtown.

Ozdemir, who for years has been trying to give his Indy Eleven soccer team a stadium, took a giant leap forward in late 2021 when he quietly purchased the Diamond Chain site at 402 Kentucky Ave. Diamond Chain’s owner, Timken Co., had already announced it planned to shutter the plant.

Then in June, Ozdemir offered the first details about the project he’s dubbed Eleven Park to IBJ, confirming that the development would include a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, apartments along the White River, a hotel along West Street near the Indiana Convention Center and other retail, office and parking buildings.

“We believe this site is the best place to invest, knowing it will have a transformational impact [on] the south side” of downtown, Ozdemir told IBJ. The development “will serve as an important gateway to the city and bring connectivity and a pedestrian connection to the heart of downtown.”

Keystone is planning to break ground on the project next spring.

Eleven Park is just one of the many that Ozdemir and his Keystone Group development firm have underway.

This summer, Keystone was putting the finishing touches on 220 Meridian, an $80 million project that converted the former AT&T office building at 220 N. Meridian St. into luxury apartments, a parking garage and retail space. 

In June, Keystone won approval for a $168 million plan to develop a mixed-use district at the northeast corner of Haverstick Road and East 86th Street, directly across from the Ironworks at Keystone development.

The Alexander at the Crossing project calls for apartment, retail and office structures, along with about 35 town houses and a hotel. The entire eastern edge of the property will retain a line of trees.

Keystone said in October it was moving forward with a commercial-and-residential real estate project planned adjacent to the Broad Ripple parking garage on College Avenue, even though its main tenant—Purdue Polytechnic High School North—dropped out.

Keystone officials said they were redesigning the project in the 6200 block of College Avenue to include additional apartments in the space where the school would have been.

And this fall, Keystone confirmed it will restart work at the Illinois Building, which it is redeveloping into an Intercontinental Hotel. That project had been on pause during the pandemic, although some work has been done on model rooms as well as the rooftop bar at Illinois and West Market streets. 

The hotel is expected to open by February 2024, when the city hosts the NBA All-Star Game, Keystone officials said.

But the project that seems closest to Ozdemir’s heart is Eleven Park. He originally announced a plan for a $550 million stadium district in 2019, and that year, the Indiana Legislature agreed to pay for 80% of the stadium costs through a special taxing district.

The project didn’t have a site, though, until Ozdemir bought the Diamond Chain property. Then, in planning for the location, he swelled the project to more than $1 billion.

The stadium alone could cost as much as $250 million—a far cry from original plans that called for a $150 million facility. The project would be developed in phases, starting with the stadium, parking garages and a public plaza.•

Check out more 2022 Newsmakers.

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One thought on “2022 Newsmaker: Ozdemir’s flurry of projects includes plans for downtown stadium district

  1. Ersal is a class act. He humbly goes about his business making Indianapolis a better place. We need more community leaders like him. I have a dream that some day his organization will get involved in the Circle Center Mall and turn that around to centerpiece status. Keep up the great work Ersal! -JB

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