UPDATE: Team pitching plan for airport site calls off forum

March 14, 2016

A company that wants to build a $500 million medical center at the Indianapolis International Airport has suddenly postponed a community forum to explain the plan and answer questions.

Athlete’s Business Network had planned to outline its proposal Tuesday evening at Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center in Wayne Township, just east of the airport.

But ABN said Monday morning it has decided to postpone the forum until after the airport authority board meets Friday morning to consider whether to sign a non-binding letter of intent on the project.

“In discussing the timing and logistics of our outreach efforts, the ABN team determined that it would be difficult to have a public meeting and not be able to disclose specific elements of the project and partners who will be part of the development team,” the company said in a statement. “Details and partners cannot be openly discussed until the letter of intent is executed with the Airport Authority.”

ABN said the airport authority agreed with its decision to delay the meeting. The company said it is “absolutely committed” to holding public meetings at a future, unspecified time.

The company’s ambitious plans call for building four medical office buildings, a research center for brain injuries, two hotels, a 20,000-seat indoor stadium, practice fields, a fan zone, an obstacle course, sports entertainment and retail, and an armed forces center. The project would be built in phases on about 130 acres of unused land near the old terminal.

ABN, formed in 2009, has not previously built any real estate projects, and has faced questions about its experience and financial backing.

“In the event that the Indianapolis Airport Authority elects to proceed with its consideration of ABN’s proposal for the former airport property, the company will reschedule the community forum to discuss and answer questions regarding the company’s proposal,” ABN said in an email to IBJ.

If the airport board approves the measure, that would allow the company to start lining up financial commitments, and would allow the airport to begin due diligence on the project.

Mario Rodriguez, the airport authority’s executive director, was scheduled to give an update this Wednesday to the City-County Council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee. But an airport spokesman said Monday that meeting has been postponed until April 13, “in light of the anticipated upcoming board vote.”

According to ABN’s press kit, the project would be built in two phases. The first phase, costing between $150 million and $200 million, would include the medical office buildings, brain research center, a hotel, restaurant and retail.

The second phase, costing between $300 million and $350 million, would include the stadium, practice fields, an armed forces recruiting center, a second hotel and conference center, and a “fan center” with more retail and a food zone.

The company also has said it is trying to lure an “existing or expansion” Major League Soccer team to Indianapolis.

ABN declined to identify any investors, but said the project will be financed with a mix of debt and equity.  


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