CIB seeking $320M in bonds for Bankers Life Fieldhouse project

A committee of the Indianapolis City-County Council has signed off on bonds and financing the Capital Improvement Board needs for its share of the $360 million overhaul of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The CIB’s commitment to spend $270 million to help renovate the downtown arena is part of a larger, 25-year deal to keep the Indiana Pacers in the city. The team and the CIB reached an agreement in April. 

Now, the CIB plans to issue $320 million in new debt to cover its cost for the fieldhouse project. The additional $50 million is intended to provide a cushion for capitalized interest and a debt reserve fund, CIB Executive Director Andy Mallon told the Rules and Public Policy Committee of the City-County Council on Tuesday evening.

The CIB also intends to issue $140 million in bonds—on top of the $320 million—to refinance existing debt for Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mallon said refinancing the old fieldhouse debt will prevent confusion in the bond market when they go to sell the new bonds.

The CIB also is asking the City-County Council to approve an amendment to its 2019 budget, which moves $29 million from a reserve fund to its operating fund. As of the end of 2017, the CIB had $133.6 million in unrestricted cash reserves.

Mallon said $20 million is being set aside in case they need funds available to reserve contracts for the fieldhouse project before the bonds are issued. 

The remaining $9 million will be used to pay back the state of Indiana for a loan it gave the CIB in 2009 to help it out of a financial crisis

The CIB previously approved the $320 million and $140 million bonds and the additional $29 million appropriation at its meeting in May.

The City-County Council committee unanimously approved the measures Tuesday evening, sending them to the full council for consideration.

On Monday, the full City-County Council signed off on three other proposals related to the CIB’s long-term strategic plan. Those proposals extend the life of certain taxes that fund the CIB and expand what’s known as the city’s Professional Sports Development Area so it can capture tax revenue from nine additional hotels.

Without those approvals, the CIB faced a fiscal cliff in future years

State lawmakers approved the framework for the CIB during the 2019 legislative session, and that action allowed city leaders to consider these proposals. 

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