Keystone unveils renderings for $1B Eleven Park; demolition to start in May

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Keystone Group said Friday that it will break ground on its Eleven Park mixed-use development in May. The Indianapolis-based developer also released new details about the $1 billion downtown project, including renderings that place its 20,000-seat soccer stadium along the White River and add a 4,000-seat entertainment venue.

Keystone founder Ersal Ozdemir—majority owner of the Indy Eleven soccer team—told IBJ that work at the former Diamond Chain Co. property at 402 Kentucky Ave. will begin about a month after the manufacturer fully departs the 100-year-old structure in April.

Demolition and remediation are expected to last until November, at which time Ozdemir anticipates construction will begin on several buildings across the 20-acre tract. He expects the stadium to be done in time for Indy Eleven’s 2025 season.

Ozdemir and his team continue to negotiate with the city to flesh out details of the public-private partnership that will help fund the stadium and the incentives that could assist with other parts of the development.

This week, Keystone filed a request to rezone the Diamond Chain property, modifying it from its current industrial designation to CBD-2, which is used for commercial developments in the city’s business district. The change will require approval from the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals, Metropolitan Development Commission and City-County Council.

In addition to the updated timeline, Keystone shared renderings for the project that depict an open-air stadium along the river, with seating protected from the elements. That’s a change from the site plan Ozdemir shared in June, when IBJ broke the news that Keystone had purchased the Diamond Chain site for the development.

The original plan sited apartment buildings along the river, with the stadium just east of the apartments. But the new renderings show only greenspace and walking trails between the stadium and the river.

They also show at least five 10- to 20-story buildings for apartments, a hotel and office space, along with a new addition—a 4,000-seat entertainment venue.

The renderings depict massive outdoor video boards and an expansive public plaza area for which the company plans to seek city incentives.

Ozdemir said the goal is to take advantage of the site along the river and boost development in an area that has been largely industrial for decades.

The Eleven Park soccer stadium would be located on the western edge of the former Diamond Chain site, along the White River. (Rendering courtesy of Keystone Group)

“We want to do what we can, on our scale and our site along the White River,” Ozdemir said. “It will offer amazing opportunities in a complementary neighborhood to downtown Indianapolis.”

Already, the city is planning to build a bridge on Henry Street, on the south edge of the Diamond Chain property, that will essentially connect Eleven Park to the former GM stamping plant site on the west bank of the river, where Elanco Animal Health is building its new headquarters campus.

Working out details

Eleven Park has been in the planning stages for years and is the result of Ozdemir’s efforts to win support for a soccer stadium the Indy Eleven can call home. After several failed attempts to land funding for just a stadium, Ozdemir proposed in 2019 to develop what he said then would be a $550 million mixed-use district that would generate taxes to support the stadium.

Lawmakers signed on, agreeing to divert up to $9.5 million in tax revenue per year to pay off debt issued to fund the stadium’s construction. The law authorizes a special taxing district that is expected to include all of Eleven Park and requires Ozdemir and his team to pay for at least 20% of the stadium’s cost.

But while lawmakers approved the taxing district’s structure, the city must put it in place. Ozdemir said he expects to reach an agreement outlining those details in the coming months.

When asked about the negotiations, the city released a statement saying it “continues to engage with the Indy Eleven and Keystone on their plans for Indy Eleven Park.”

“Located near significant city infrastructure investments, the site is critical for the future of downtown and activation of the White River,” the statement said.

Keystone Group, which is both a developer and construction company, is not expected to work on the stadium, instead serving as supervisor and master developer of Eleven Park. It is working with national construction firm AECOM Hunt on the stadium portion of the project.

The entire project will cover 20 acres, and renderings show it will include at least five buildings that are 10 to 20 stories tall. (Renderings courtesy of Keystone Group)

New renderings of the site show at least three glass-heavy apartment buildings, each 15 to 20 stories tall and totaling 600 units, on the northeast side of the campus. Each building would have six floors of parking garages at the bottom with apartments above.

The middle of the site would feature a public plaza with an outdoor stage and play areas for families. The renderings show a row of stand-alone restaurants abutting the plaza and multiple outdoor television screens affixed to surrounding buildings and capable of displaying corporate messages, sporting events and more.

Ozdemir said the plans also include a 4,000-seat, flexible-use indoor entertainment venue, much like the 2,600-seat Coca-Cola Roxy theater in Atlanta’s Battery District and Boston’s 5,000-seat MGM Music Hall at Fenway Park. The venue would be managed by an undisclosed, national partner that specializes in event properties, he said.

The space is expected to host about 75 events every year, ranging from high-end dinners to small concert performances, Ozdemir said.

A 205,000-square-foot office building and a luxury hotel are set to round out the south end of the campus. Ozdemir equated the office space with that found at the Bottleworks District on the northeast side of downtown and in Carmel’s Midtown area. He called it a high-end, destination product that will keep companies in the city’s central business district but allow them to embrace new scenery and a growing submarket.

The soccer stadium is expected to feature a canopy that protects most spectators from the elements, with a natural-grass playing surface.

Ozdemir said that, in addition to Indy Eleven men’s and women’s games, the stadium could host outdoor concerts along with high school and college soccer, lacrosse, football and rugby, as well as international soccer events.

Additionally, the campus calls for:

 At least 2,000 parking spaces, serving Eleven Park residents and office workers as well as stadium-goers.

 197,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

 Infrastructure improvements to Kentucky Avenue, including an extension of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

The soccer stadium would seat 20,000 people, most of them under a canopy. (Rendering courtesy of Keystone Group)

Tight timeline

Ozdemir said he expects construction on most of Eleven Park’s elements to begin at roughly the same time, rather than phasing them in over time. And although it’s a tight timeline, he is pushing to have the stadium finished by the second quarter of 2025, in time for Indy Eleven’s home opener.

He expects the parking garages and plaza area to be completed at about the same time, with other buildings completed in 2026.

But before construction can begin, Ozdemir said, he expects some site remediation will be necessary. The site was a city cemetery for decades before it was turned into an industrial development in 1917.

The Diamond Chain site was once home to the city’s first burial grounds. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

“Whenever we develop a new project, there’s environmental stuff to do; that’s just part of the process,” he said. “We’re confident that it will be done, but if there’s any unforeseen conditions … we will address them.”

In addition to working out details of the taxing district, Keystone is talking with the city about whether any tax-increment-financing dollars might be available for the project, particularly the infrastructure-related components along Kentucky Avenue and the public plaza.

There is precedent for such action. The city committed tens of millions of dollars for infrastructure at the Elanco project site, as well as $25 million for the 1-1/2-acre plaza under construction north of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.•

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30 thoughts on “Keystone unveils renderings for $1B Eleven Park; demolition to start in May

  1. Downtown, especially the area around LOS, needs this bad. Outside of 8-9 Sundays a year, that area is a ghost town. This is great news and I hope we actually see ground break on schedule. Between this, Elanco and Pan Am (if it actually breaks ground) the southwest corner of downtown is going to be full of cranes very soon!

    You know who has been publicly critical of the lack of dynamic development downtown and should put his money where his mouth is to support this project getting across the finish line? Jim Irsay.

    1. Nathaniel Z.

      You nailed it in second paragraph.
      Jim Irsey has the means and the connections to make an impact
      on downtown Indianapolis.

      Jim Isrey has been critical about the lack of economic
      development in downtown. He recognizes that there are voids.
      Why can’t Irsey dedicate some time and resources to help bring
      jobs and economic development to downtown Indianapolis.

  2. Great to finally see a project gain traction in this part of downtown. Visiting other downtown cores in recent months on business there has definitely been a feeling that Indy has been falling behind.

    Unfortunately this comes after the MLS train has already left the station. Hard to get too excited about minor league soccer. Visiting downtown Columbus during Crew matches, the draw is pretty amazing. In 15-20 years there is going to be some regret and questions as to why Indy didn’t do more to attract a team.

    1. Eleven ownership have applied to MLS for a franchise but have been rejected because of the lack of a stadium. If this comes together, then the chances that MLS expands to Indy increase dramatically.

  3. One notable omission from the history of the site, between being a cemetery and industrial site, it was a baseball stadium! Short-lived Federal League Park, only stood for 3 years, but housed the 1914 Federal League champion Indianapolis Hoosiers.

  4. Ozdemir is a visionary, something Indianapolis has lacked since the days of Lugar and Hudnut. Even if only half of what these renderings are built, the Eleven Park will be a spectacular addition to our city and metro region.

    1. Lmao, how out of touch. Nothing about Ozdemir or Keystones history is visionary or sparks enthusiasm.

    1. Joe B is correct… there are long empty spaces all over downtown, good luck finding tenants for this, especially at what he will want to charge per/sf

    2. I’m all for doing things. I live in Marion County, I’m helping pay for this thing.

      But let’s be real, the Salesforce Tower is about to come open. The building next to the Gold Building is about to be redeveloped into apartments and another 200,000 square feet of office space will come open.

      The City County building is getting ready to be re-developed. The jail and the Heliport and Old City Hall and more. I personally feel a lot more excited about re-developing all of those things … over a new stadium on a location that isn’t really part of downtown. Tear out that railroad and move the utility plant and … maybe I’d feel differently.

    1. MLS is already in Columbus, Chicago, Cincinnati, St Louis, and Nashville. The expansion fee is now north of $300 million.

    2. Scott C,

      I would love to see MLS come to Indianapolis, but expansion is probably
      out of the question for a long time.
      A team relocating would probably be more realistic.
      But as mentioned, the Midwest is already saturated.

      That said, if the opportunity presents itself whether it be an expansion
      or a team wanting to relocate, we should jump on it.

  5. Difficult to be positive on this project, Ozdemir/Keystone can not even finish the Intercontinental Hotel. There has been little or no activity there for several years. The “Coming Soon” sign still on the front doors. Kinda of a joke.

    1. Robert, with West Market Street torn up for its reconstruction, Keystone has been smart to put the emphasis on other projects (such as the conversion of 200 Meridian into a luxury apartment building garage, for example). And don’t work, the Intercontinental will be finished and open for business in the near future.

  6. I applaud the vision and welcome this project to the Indianapolis skyline. Complaints about Ozdemir aside, we should be thankful there are people who are willing to take a chance on this city’s future. What we all need to understand is that Indianapolis is falling behind similar-sized Midwest cities such as Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tenn. … not to mention places such as Charlotte and Austin. I believe it is, in part, the natural product of a provincial mindset that has abandoned the bold visions of people such as Dick Lugar and Bill Hudnut in favor of petty political infighting. Seriously addressing Indy’s problems (which start at a Statehouse full of small-minded people who actively work against the city’s interests), while promoting the growth and prosperity of Indiana’s primary economic engine is in everyone’s best interests.

  7. Yes, Ozdemir may be a visionary, but do his visions come to reality? What about the Intercontinental Hotel in the Illinois Building just off Monument Circle? Work on that seems to have come to a dead end. Hopefully that won’t happen with Eleven Park, but one has to wonder.

  8. Great to see enhancement of the riverfront. The project will be an anchor for activity and positively inspire redevelopment of a much larger area. Truly transformational! This will be fantastic for the city!

  9. Hopefully, some of the apartments or condos will be designed for long-term residents and also accommodate some of moderate of less income, for whom a ‘luxury’ apartment may not be necessary or rational. Recognizing construction costs and the need to maximize units per footprint, more thoughtful design elements such as utility sinks, balconies, storage area would encourage a more stable neighborhood compatible with the stadium and nearby entertainment venues.

  10. Dream on. Unfortunately, this is never going to happen with the current leaders in place. Including Terrible Mayor Hogsett and Ersal Ozdemir. Point to ANYTHING substantial he has developed. Good grief. I now have serious doubts about the Signia Hotel development happening, even with the experienced developers leading the project. Why did they not take advantage of low interest rates when they could have gotten this started? Please let Hogsett not be mayor for another 4 years. The job is seriously way beyond his abilities. He may have been competent back in his day. But the brain can only tolerate so many years of EtOH. Please get help Mr mayor.

    1. Michael G.

      The financing should have been secured when interest rates were
      very low.
      Another problem is the longer this project is on hold, the tougher
      this convention center hotel will be to get off the ground with all
      the new hotels coming online. The Hyatt across from Gainbridge Fieldhouse
      and the Simon hotel that will go up also, plus all the others.

      Conventions will be harder to draw also as the corridor along Illinois Street
      continues to deteriorate.

      There is another Problem. The hotel tax is outlandish and will drive convention
      organizers to other cities.

      Why pay such a rediculious hotel tax to stay in a deteriorating area.

      Nashville, Columbus, and probably Louisville ( as they develop ) will
      clobber us.

    2. Since when is the mayor responsible for assuring that private developers get their projects done? The developers should have been taking advantage of low interest rates. We all seem to have forgotten that we’re just coming out of a pandemic that shut down the economy and there has not been demand for new hotels or other commercial construction.

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