Council panel advances $2.9M in financing for new Duke Realty headquarters

An Indianapolis City-County Council panel on Monday night unanimously advanced proposals that would help Duke Realty Corp. move its headquarters from Carmel to a $28 million office building it would build in Indianapolis.

The council’s Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee approved $2.9 million in developer-backed bonds for Duke Realty to help finance construction of the headquarters, to be paid for by future tax revenue generated by the project.

The committee also extracted the site at 8711 N. River Crossing Blvd.—which formerly was occupied by a Champps restaurant—from the 96th Street tax-increment-financing district, and created a site-specific TIF district for the project.

The proposals still need a final stamp approval from the full City-County Council and the Metropolitan Development Commission.

IBJ previously reported that Duke Realty, the publicly traded real estate investment trust, would co-own the four-story, 78,000-square-foot building at Keystone at the Crossing with Indianapolis-based PK Partners LLC, which would serve as project developer. Duke would occupy 73,000 square feet and would pay rent as a tenant.

Plans call for the remaining 5,000 square feet to be occupied by a restaurant.

Duke Realty had its headquarters in Indianapolis when it was founded in 1972, but eventually moved to Carmel. It has been leasing space in the Parkwood Crossing office park for 18 years.

“We’ve been analyzing multiple sites over approximately a year,” said Nick Anthony, executive vice president and chief investment officer for Duke Realty. “It’s kind of a return back to our corporate beginnings."

As part of the move, 202 current Duke employees would relocate to the new headquarters and the company would plan to create another 25 jobs.

Mayor Joe Hogsett’s deputy mayor, Angela Smith-Jones, cheered the proposal, calling it an economic development win for the city.

“From the very beginning when they approached us … the mayor gave me clear direction: 'I want you to run and compete for this,'” Smith-Jones told the committee.

“Working together to have this large corporate headquarters return to our city is an excellent feather in our cap,” she said

Republican Councilor Colleen Fanning said the proposal is “everything we hoped for when the TIF tool was designed.”

The bonds will primarily pay for the construction of a sub-grade parking garage, Duke officials said.

No one spoke against the proposal at the meeting, but Clarke Kahlo, a local grass-roots activist and former director of regional advancement and education for the Hoosier Environmental Council, sent a letter to Committee Chairwoman Maggie Lewis opposing the proposal.

"Duke Realty, being financially capable, should also be willing to stand on its own two feet and pay its own way for its desired premium location," Kahlo wrote in his letter, "and not seek public subsidies."

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