Updated: Republic Airways to move HQ, training facilities to struggling retail area in Carmel

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The city of Carmel released this rendering of a planned Republic Airways headquarters and training campus along U.S. 31. (Rendering by Ratio, courtesy of city of Carmel)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to confirm that Republic Airways plans to build its headquarters at the Hamilton Crossing site at Meridian Street and Carmel Drive.

Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc. announced Monday that it will move its corporate headquarters to Carmel and consolidate its training programs there as part of a mixed-use development project along what the city calls the Meridian Corporate Corridor.

Republic, which provides passenger flights that operate under the flags of major airlines, plans to move about 1,900 jobs to what is now the site of Hamilton Crossing, a commercial strip at the southeast corner of Meridian Street and Carmel Drive that has all but been abandoned by retailers.

Republic’s headquarters is now at 8909 Purdue Road on the northwest side of Indianapolis, south of Interstate 465 and east of Michigan Road, about 8 miles from Carmel site.

The city plans to issue up to $49.5 million in tax-increment financing bonds to improve infrastructure from the project. The Carmel City Council began the process of considering the bonds on Monday night.

Carmel officials said the Republic project will “breathe new life into a commercial development that was impacted by upgrades made to U.S. 31.” The changes cut off direct access to the site from highway.

The city said it would use the bonds for improvements at the site that include upgrades in parking, streets and other infrastructure. A TIF bond means that property taxes generated within the site will be used to pay for the improvements. The bonds will be backed solely by Republic Airways, the city said.

The project will include a high-tech training facility for pilots, technicians, flight attendants and other positions within the airline, the expansion of an adjacent hotel and a new parking garage with commercial amenities on the first floor and multifamily living above. The move consolidates training programs now located in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis and several other locations.

“This project ensures Republic is positioned to attract and retain the most talented and trained professionals in aviation, by creating a space designed specifically to meet the needs of our associates and to reduce inefficiencies,” said Matt Koscal, the company’s chief administrative officer, in a statement distributed by the city. “Locating in the city of Carmel indicates our desire to provide a first-class corporate campus and training facility as this city is often listed among the best places to live, work and raise a family.”

The project will be constructed in phases, the city said. It will start with the 105,000-square-foot training facility, which will be three stories tall and visible to travelers on U.S. 31. It will include 20 classrooms, 94 workstations, two cabin trainers and eight flight simulators.

The city said the building will provide a “passersby with a unique view of pilot-training simulators through large bay windows that will face the highway.” It also said an “eagles nest” viewing deck will allow visitors, school students and other aviation partners a unique view of the excitement of aviation.

The headquarters will be built next, followed by an additional four classrooms and two more flight simulators. A hotel adjacent to the training center will be expanded to 274 rooms and used exclusively as accommodations for trainees, visiting instructors, business partners and colleagues traveling to the aviation campus.

“This has been an exciting project to be a part of as the economic impact of this project will benefit the city of Carmel, its residents and small businesses for many years to come,” said Tom McGowan, president of Kite Realty Group Trust, which owns Hamilton Crossing.

The city said Kite would be the master developer of the Republic HQ project, along with Pure Development.

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16 thoughts on “Updated: Republic Airways to move HQ, training facilities to struggling retail area in Carmel

  1. Big loss for Indy. We have far more “struggling retail areas” of our own!
    And we have so much redevelopment acreage around the old IND terminal site with terrific Interstate access and immediate proximately to Republic’s true base of operations.
    Kite, Pure Development, others could have developed sometime similar or better for Republic.

    Giving corporate citizens these TIF incentives to stay and invest within Marion Co is always tricky turf.
    But losing Republic will be costly. Over many years to come.

  2. Boss Hogsett and the City-County Council are too busy discussing to be masked or unmasked, meatless Monday, smoking restrictions in city parks and who to pawn the City County Building off on to be concerned about keeping a major employer in the county.

    1. Most of their employees work at IND and literally can’t work anywhere else. It’s such a small loss – and not worth $50m.

    2. Mayor Hogsett should have given Republic an opportunity to buy the soon to be vacant City County Building for its new HQ.

  3. Spot on Michael D!
    And totally agree with Jefferson…airline not at the airport? Fish outta water.
    “TIFs” are fishy at best and the double edged sword of public/private development

  4. Republic will still do most business in Indianapolis and they tricked Carmel into giving them $50m so their executives have a shorter commute. They got fleeced.

    1. While TIF is not perfect, it is based on estimated value, and the company will be paying it back in the form of property taxes. It’s not like it’s free money. Do your research.

    2. Research? It is free money to Republic, taxpayers will have to cover the costs of city services Republic uses for 25 years since their taxes go to their building debt on a special built development

  5. I find it funny that Republic is viewed as one of the “value” airlines right along side of Allegiant and they decide to build and move to one of the richest zip codes in the region. There is so much land at the airport, it certainly dos make sense to be close to the market in which you serve, however the area around the airport is not all that desirable of a place to be HQ’ed.

    1. Except for all the other Headquarters around there, Infosys America Training Headquarters right next to it being one – with just as much tech investment in VR/AR and AI.

  6. With all of the complaining that goes on in Brownsburg as it regards the distribution centers that have been built and what it does or doesn’t provide in the way of tax revenue, Republic Airlines HQ would’ve been a great opportunity. Of course, there doesn’t appear as though there’s any strategy for this type of growth. Instead, it seems all we do is play musical chairs with the Town Manager’s position and, at least, one seat on the Town Council. Well, at least we are fortunate to have a great school system to attract families to our community.

  7. At least the company stayed in the Indy metro area and not moved out of state completely. Indy,Carmel,Fishers,Westfield,nobelsville,brownsburg and Greenwood need to work together as one big regional area for development.Thats how Indy should sell itself to the rest of the world.If a major development comes anywhere to the Indy metro area that’s a good thing for the entire area.