New 8,500-seat arena for Indy Fuel part of $650M Fishers District expansion plan

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The Indy Fuel plan to begin play at an 8,500-seat event center at Fishers District in 2024-25. (Rendering courtesy city of Fishers)

The Indy Fuel minor league hockey team plans to be the anchor tenant of a new event center and expanded entertainment district in Fishers, the city announced Wednesday.

The Fuel, an affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, could begin playing games at an 8,500-seat arena at Fishers District as soon as the 2024-25 season if plans come to fruition.

The 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’s home arena has been the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds since the franchise began play in 2014-15.

“The new facility will allow us to host more fans, create unique experiences for families and groups, and offer additional dining and entertainment options for an enhanced gameday experience,” Indy Fuel owner Jim Hallett said in written remarks.

An 8,500-seat event center at Fishers District would include luxury suite space. (Rendering courtesy city of Fishers)

Hallett Sports and Entertainment would manage the event center and provide day-to-day operational and booking management. The team currently uses the Fuel Tank—a hockey and skating facility at 9022 E. 126th St. in Fishers—for team practice and residential facilities.

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 includes:

  • 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.

Mayor Scott Fadness called the Fishers District expansion announcement “a monumental day for our city.”

The Slate at Fishers District is a planned $63 million multifamily and garden home community.

“This announcement to expand the District into even more neighborhoods is exciting news from an entertainment perspective, but also because of the economic development to come,” Fadness said in written remarks. “This expansion not only answers the call from CEOs and employees looking for restaurants and entertainment but can now be home to our schools’ graduations and statewide sporting events.”

The Fishers District expansion is part of $1.1 billion in economic development and entertainment projects recently announced by the city.

Financing and rezoning plans for the event center will be introduced at the Fishers City Council meeting on Sept. 19. The council will also vote on economic development agreements for headquarters for Indianapolis-based Andretti Global and for a subsidiary of Italy-based Stevanato Group.

Andretti Autosport announced plans on Aug. 22 for a $200 million global headquarters. The team plans to move to the new Fishers headquarters in early 2025.

The autosports giant envisions a 575,000-square-foot facility on 90 acres on the southeast quadrant of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport property near East 96th Street and Hague Road. The land is near the Nickel Plate Trail and Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve.

Stevanato Group will present a proposal to the city council to update its previously announced plans for a 370,000-square-foot facility in the Fishers Life Science and Innovation Park. The company plans to invest $512 million in the project with a plan to hire 515 employees by 2031.

Stevanato Group in March entered into an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority that will expand its planned manufacturing capacity in Fishers. The company will use the facility to produce vials to be used for current and future vaccine needs.

The Stevanato facility is expected to open in early 2024.

Thompson Thrift began construction on the original Fishers District in 2018, with the help of city incentives. It began master-planning the $110 million project, originally called The Yard at Fishers District, in 2015. More than 20 houses were acquired and torn down to make way for the development.

The 18-acre property south of 116th Street just east of Interstate 69 in Fishers was sold to JVM Realty Corp. last year for an undisclosed amount.

The sale included The Mark at Fishers District apartments and 105,000 square feet of fully leased retail and restaurant space in multiple buildings. The acquisition did not include the HC Tavern or the dual-branded, six-story, 145-room Hyatt Place/Hyatt House hotel.

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21 thoughts on “New 8,500-seat arena for Indy Fuel part of $650M Fishers District expansion plan

  1. It’s a good move for the Fuel organization and Fishers. The Fuel should see a considerable increase in attendance and support as most of its fan base (hockey families) live in the suburbs. The Fuel represents an inexpensive option to take the family to a professional sporting event.

    1. Funny you say that they are an inexpensive option when their tickets are more expensive than both Indy Eleven and the Indianapolis Indians, two teams that are higher in their respective sporting pyramids.

      Also, pour one out for the poor souls who live in suburbs not on the northside who now have much further to go to attend a game.

    2. I agree with Josh. Tickets are very expensive for their league. On the other hand, Josh, for someone in Greenwood, it is actually easier and takes no longer to get to the intersection of 69-116th st than it is to get to the fairgrounds.

    3. Jeff H — there is no way it’s anywhere near comparable for a Greenwood resident to get to I69 and 116th vs. the Fairgrounds. Even today, while the north split is still closed, Google reports it would take 7 minutes longer to get to Fishers. It will probably approach a 15 minute difference next year after the split reopens, and that difference is both ways.

  2. Adding hockey fans to the gridlock at I-69 and 116th Street is unlikely to make the evening commute any easier, but maybe the stadium will add some needed parking to the District. Glad to see the Fuel invest more in Fishers but make sure the bus leaves early on game night as the trip from your practice facility to the District at rush hour will take awhile.

  3. Disappointing that they chose to leave Indy but can’t say I blame them. Probably more fans up there, plus better facilities and (probably) cheaper parking. Not sure an arena that big is really necessary though. Maybe they have designs on moving up to the AHL?

    1. I believe I heard/read that moving up to the AHL was part of their original plans when they came to town. Perhaps you are spot on here, Chris. I hope this development takes place.

    1. I actually really enjoyed going to the fairgrounds if nothing else for the nostalgic feel but yet updated twist they’ve given the facility. It’s such an iconic building I’m sad to see them leave it.

      That being said I’m sure the new facility will be amazing.

    2. The Coliseum is fine, I just think the fairgrounds in general are a dump. A depressing place to visit, especially in the winter.

  4. Once again im impressed with the continuous announcements of developments in Fishers. I also notice that people from here are always seeing things that may be negative about any development in Indiana. If this were any other major city, the locals seem to embrace projects like this. Concerns about traffic and other insignificant factors, never materialize and are non factors. Fishers and Carmel have already become major suburb cities on the move and traffic as well as other concerns should be expected for a growing metro. It just comes with the territory folks.

    1. The typical NIMBY complaints about traffic usually centers around things like new subdivisions with 100s of homes. Obviously adding the time-distributed vehicles from 100s of homes never amounts to any noticeable change on roads that carry tens of thousands of cars a day.

      That said, adding an 8500 seat venue where people will be coming and going during relatively compressed periods of time will absolutely be noticeable. The Fairgrounds is situated on monster streets and set up to handle far larger volumes of traffic than the Fuel generate. I hope Fishers is properly planning for this.

    2. It would be nice if the state got involved and built an actual regional transportation system that included light rail. They own significant right-of-way throughout the Indy metro and could build a state-of-the-art system connecting the disconnected communities. Hop on at a downtown stop and get off at a new Fishers District stop.

    3. The traffic will ALWAYS be a problem. Hockey is probably more of a suburban oriented sport. In the old days when the Fairgrounds WERE the suburbs of Indy it might have worked better. Being a Miami of Ohio grad with a very strong hockey following, it was always fair to say that urban areas seem to attract fewer fans than say basketball.
      Some people seem to think that 8500 might be too big. I think it might be too small. At the rate Fishers is growing, a seating capacity of around 10,000 might be better. Take this from an architect that has participated in the design of several similar facilities.

  5. Traffic wont be a problem? 242 garden homes, 250 apartments, 140,000sf retail & office, 8,500 seat arena ADDED to what’s already there at The District and IKEA, high density housing at The Mark and Highpoint Ridge and 2 new 6-storey hotels. All this traffic will converge on the 116th & 106th street I-69 exits which are overloaded now. Traffic ALREADY IS a big problem in Fishers. There just aren’t enough large feeder roads through town. Yes, we are next to I-69, but it is already clogged up at rush hours and most of the day. They’ve widened it to 12 lanes and there’s little room left for future expansion. One commenter suggested a light rail mass transit solution. I agree this would go a long way towards solving this problem, but that ship has already sailed when the Nickle Plate right of way was converted to a bike path. The mass transit solution is just too expensive at this point in history and in the current economy. The sad irony of all this is the City of Fishers will almost certainly waive the road impact fees for this project, like they do for almost every other Public Private Partnership project in town. An economist once said about socialism that it doesn’t work because eventually you run out of other people’s money. When will the free-spending politicians in Fishers and Hamilton County come face-to-face with that reality?