Fishers officials are proposing to use a 1% food and beverage tax to help fund a new $170 million event center that would be home to the Indy Fuel minor league hockey team.
The plan was introduced Monday night at the Fishers City Council meeting.
The 8,500-seat event center is part of a larger $650 million expansion plan for Fishers District. The development is planned east of Interstate 69 between East 106th and East 116th streets and southeast of Ikea.
The Fuel, an affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, could begin playing games at the event center as soon as the 2024-25 season if plans come to fruition. The event center would hold 6,500 fans for Fuel and basketball games and about 8,000 to 8,500 people for concerts and other entertainment events.
Fishers would own the arena and issue 40-year bonds to pay for the facility.
The city would make annual debt payments of $9.7 million that would be paid from four different sources: the city’s cumulative capital development fund ($3.5 million), the food and beverage tax ($3 million), operational revenue ($1.7 million) and a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, fund ($1.5 million).
The new tax would apply to all food and beverage purchases in Fishers restaurants and raise the sales tax in restaurants from 8% to 9%. Fishers Deputy Mayor Elliott Hultgren noted that Hamilton County cities Carmel, Noblesville and Westfield, and Zionsville in Boone County, also have food and beverage taxes.
“One of our goals early on was to ensure we do not raise property taxes to fund this project,” Hultgren said.
The Fishers City Council will hold a public hearing on the food and beverage tax on Oct. 6. The council will vote on the tax on Oct. 10. The tax would take effect Dec. 1 if it is approved.
Indianapolis-based Thompson Thrift Development LLC is the master developer of Fishers District. The expansion project is expected to also include new retail, restaurant, entertainment and residential options.
Along with the Fuel, the event center would host sporting, theatrical and entertainment events.
Fishers District expansion plans also include:
- Slate at Fishers District, a previously announced $63 million multifamily and garden home community;
- The Union, which is expected to include about 250 luxury apartments, 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 150 hotel rooms and up to 80,000 square feet of Class A office space;
- and The Commons, which would feature the event center and dining, retail and entertainment options.
The city council on Monday also unanimously approved plans for Andretti Autosport’s $200 million headquarters and an updated proposal by Italy-based Stevanato Group.
Andretti Autosport envisions a 575,000-square-foot facility on 90 acres on the southeast quadrant of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport near East 96th Street and Hague Road. The land is near the Nickel Plate Trail and Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve.
Stevanato Group originally announced plans in June 2021 to spend $145 million to build a 370,000-square-foot facility in Fishers, creating 250 high-wage jobs by the end of 2025.
Fishers announced last week that Stevanato Group approached the city with a proposal to increase its investment in the facility to $512 million and its hiring plan to 515 employees by 2031.