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.”
“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.”