Gov. Holcomb says ‘what’s next’ could be soccer stadium

Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday that state and city leaders should always be looking to the future, which could mean investing in a professional soccer stadium in Indianapolis.

The Indy Eleven has proposed a $550 million mixed-use project that would include apartments, retail, office space and a permanent soccer stadium for the team. The 20,000-seat stadium would cost about $150 million. Team owner Ersal Ozdemir will ask lawmakers and local officials to create special districts that would capture tax revenue to pay off the bonds for the stadium part of the project. 

A location for the development has not been finalized, but locations downtown and in Broad Ripple are being considered.

Holcomb said he needs to know more details about how the project could work before taking a specific position on it. But he compared the situation to when Indianapolis and state leaders debated plans for stadiums for the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers.

“We had vision and foresight and commitment and a little bit of courage," Holcomb said. "And soccer and lacrosse are sports that draw an equal amount of not just attention but investment.

"We need to be looking always what’s next. The ‘next level’ is not just a slogan. It is leaning into the future and embracing it.”

Specific legislation that would create a professional sports development area that would be used to capture state tax revenue for the project has not yet been introduced at the Statehouse. But it's possible the proposal could be folded into a bill that Senate Appropriations Chairman Ryan Mishler is expected to introduce to provide additional funding to the Capital Improvement Board.

The CIB owns the Indiana Convention Center, Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium and is pitching a proposal to state lawmakers this year that would give the organization at least $8 million per year in additional revenue.

Under the Indy Eleven plan, the CIB would also own the soccer stadium.

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