Colts acquire 9 acres of parking properties south of Lucas Oil Stadium

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Lucas Oil Stadium (IBJ file photo)

The Indianapolis Colts have acquired more than nine acres of land south of Lucas Oil Stadium in several purchases over the past six months in an effort to boost parking operations.

The franchise spent at least $6.3 million to buy the property, most of which is vacant and has been used for game day parking by third-party vendors since Lucas Oil Stadium opened in 2008.

The Colts have partnered with Gate Ten Events & Parking—one of those third-party vendors—to manage operations of the additional parking lots, said Pete Ward, chief operating officer for the Colts.

“Parking is a critical commodity for an NFL team [with] a downtown stadium, and this property, along with the south lot of Lucas Oil Stadium, will give us an opportunity to control our own large surface parking area in close proximity to the stadium,” Ward said. “Surface parking is particularly desirable for tailgating—an important and traditional element to the game day experience for many of our fans.”

The decision to buy the property followed years of consideration, Ward said, and is part of an effort to give fans a more consistent parking experience no matter their proximity to the stadium.

“This allows us to better control the game day experience of our fans,” he said. “We want a great experience for our fans. We want them to be able to tailgate and have restroom facilities, and things like that. So there’s a lot of things that we will look at in [determining] how to improve the experience of the fans if we feel it’s needed.”

A majority of the property bought by the team is bounded by West McCarty Street to the north, South Missouri Street to the west, South Church Street to the east and Interstate 70 to the south. The rest is spread out over several contiguous and non-contiguous parcels further east. Some of the property includes structures that are not expected to be torn down, including Gate Ten’s headquarters at 343 W. McCarty St.

Pandemic-related attendance restrictions have reduced figures for the parking areas so far this season. Ward said recent games have drawn better crowds to the lots, “but with the reduced capacity for this year, we don’t expect all spaces to be utilized.”

Gate Ten, according to its website, controls about 2,200 spaces in the area, all of which are now under the ownership of the Colts. Parking for Colts games generally ranges from $25 to $40.

Much of the land taken over by the Colts was split between two owners: IWS Realty, a locally-based vacation home rental company, and Stadium Partners LLC, a holding company for principals with Indianapolis-based property management firm Axia Urban.

The Colts in May secured a $5.45 million loan from Huntington National Bank for the nearly 4.5 acres of IWS property, according to city records. The smaller parcels were owned by about five property owners that received compensation ranging from $110,000 to $325,000. Those properties were sold in October.

The acquisition of the 2.9 acres owned by Stadium Partners closed in recent weeks, according to principal Gary Levine. He said the land was sold to Gate Ten, which then planned to sell the property to the Colts. Public records for those sales have not yet been filed.

Ward declined to comment on the purchase price for any of the properties, indicating the figures were proprietary and would not be disclosed.

The land “became available at a price that made it sensible for us,” he said.

Ward quashed rumblings that the franchise might move its corporate headquarters to the property from its current home at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center at 7001 W. 56th St.

He also said no additional plans are being discussed to redevelop any of the land.

“We have no plans at present to relocate our headquarters from their current location,” Ward said. “We have had zero discussions about [re-development], either internally or externally.”

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15 thoughts on “Colts acquire 9 acres of parking properties south of Lucas Oil Stadium

  1. There are some business and institutions that just eat the neighborhood around them. Examples that come to mind are the Children’s Museum, Eli Lilly Corporate headquarters, and now the Colts. Eli Lilly has recently given back some of their land in the form of a park, so kudos to them.

    Luckily there was not much lost in this case, but it does change the character of the city.

    1. Not really a change in the character of the city, since according to the article this land was already being used for game day parking by third-party companies. It is just changing who is in control of the property, and could be an improvement in the management and maintenance of those lots.

    2. Eli Lilly also owned the land underneath what is now Buckingham’s CityWay and the South Street Y. They also sold the old Wood HS campus to Rolls Royce, who in turn sold a bunch of it for the Union 525 and related developments. The fact is, Lilly is divesting downtown real estate, not expanding its footprint. And to the extent that its well-paid employees and retirees are also Colts season ticketholders, they provide additional game-day parking that the team doesn’t have to provide.

  2. Remember when building this new stadium was going to create a new, vibrant “Stadium Village” neighborhood on nearby parcels such as these? Man, that worked out so splendidly, what a great use of our tax dollars.

    1. 8 games a year doesn’t drive much “vibrancy” that’s for sure. Let’s remember this when the Colts demand upgrades to LOS in a few years.

  3. As owner of Shapiro’s and chairman of Stadium Village Business development committee, we have grown organically. 16 Tech got $125M in TIF money and full time group of architects and planners. The Southside gets crumbs. Imagine what could be done with Madison Ave given the existing infrastructure, but so far no money has been allocated. We need quality of life amenities for local residents to use and enjoy. How do you build a community without locals? The residents provide a sense of place and help make a place safe. However, we have two hotels that are near completion, we have TWG building a market rate apartment building with some affordable units mixed in, we have BWI tearing down the old apartment building at Meridian and Morris. I am worried that we will be a healthcare desert when IU Medical moves to the Methodist campus/16 Tech. The gas station convenient stores are selling unhealthy food at a marked up price which gives the locals less disposable income. The Pacers need to invest with local youths for their basketball camps instead of having to travel to Westfield, but the city also has to participate with the local youths and not just to public photo shoots. So, I agree with the many of the comments but people need to offer ideas and solutions.

    1. Madison Ave? Who would want to spend any time there? Every time I so much as drive through Madison I duck to avoid stray bullets. It would take billions of dollars and decades to make that area even remotely habitable.

      As for “gas stations”, no one is forcing anyone to buy the marked up food. Personal decisions have consequences. Sadly, some Americans are trying to change that, but at least for now it’s half true.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts Brian. Just curious, do you know if there’s a link for the BWI proposal at Meridian and Morris? The old building there is nothing special architecturally, but it does have perfectly good street engagement and I would hope that any replacement would offer the same.
      .
      As for Madison Avenue, I remain convinced that the lack of contiguity between Madison south of McCarty and north of McCarty not only creates confusion in terms of the naming, but is a serious missed opportunity for a rebranding. In short, the four-block stretch northward, radiating from the I-70 exit ramp, should get renamed and better calibrated for pedestrians. Maybe an honorary street after a celebrated Indianapolis figure? At any rate, I wrote an obscure little article about this several years ago, and most of it still holds true: https://dirtamericana.com/2012/07/madison-gateway-navigational-confusion/

    1. Only way the south side will do better is if the residents of the south side start acting like civilized human beings.

  4. Yeah how nice. Ask the employees that work there how far they have to walk in the snow sleep rain hot sun to get to work nice that there’s parking lots for everyone else but they don’t treat their employees very well.

  5. Not a single reference in the article to Babe Denny, the name of this neighborhood (or what’s left of it). Those little single-family homes have been getting whittled away at a rapid clip since Lucas Oil Stadium went up. I’ll confess that it was hardly a thriving area, but what hosted about 40 or 50 late 19th and early 20th century homes as recently as 2005 now has probably less than a dozen. Let us remember that Chatham Arch was hardly a thriving area in the 1970s, but it clearly took a completely different trajectory.

    These acquisitions no doubt anticipate either additional demolitions or destruction through neglect, all for the sake of “a more consistent parking experience” for a game day that happens less than 10 times a year. Very nice. Stadium Village indeed.

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