The Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved the bill that would give the Indy Eleven more time to finalize plans for a dedicated soccer stadium.
Senate Bill 385, authored by Republican Sen. Jack Sandlin of Indianapolis, would add two years to a 2019 bill that had called for a new special tax district—known as a professional sports development area, or PSDA—to be established in Marion County by mid-2022. The bill extends that date to July 1, 2024.
The PSDA would capture taxes spent in a designated geographical area surrounding the stadium to help finance the project. Indy Eleven would be required to sign a long-term agreement with the city’s Capital Improvement Board (which also owns and operates the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium) and pay for 20% of the stadium construction costs.
The new PSDA would have to be enacted by the city’s Metropolitan Development Commission once a deal is struck between the city and the team.
Passed in 2019, Senate Bill 7 included language approving the creation of an additional PSDA in the county, as well as other measures, such as $270 million for renovations to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and an expansion of existing PSDAs.
SB 7 allowed up to $9.5 million annually in tax revenues to be captured for up to 32 years to pay off bonds for an outdoor soccer stadium. Sandlin’s bill would mean collections could start either once all requirements are met as part of a deal, or on June 30, 2023—whichever is sooner.
Sandlin said the unexpected pandemic caused the need for the extended timeline for the soccer stadium.
Indy Eleven officials have said they plan to announce a location for the proposed $550 million Eleven Park development, which would include a stadium, by the end of March.
Lobbyist Matt Bell, who is representing Indy Eleven at the Statehouse, spoke in favor of the bill but did not share any new details about the project during Thursday’s hearing.
“We are excited to bring a permanent home for professional soccer to the city of Indianapolis,” Bell said.
CIB Executive Director Andy Mallon also voiced support for the legislation.
“The CIB is looking forward to working with the Indy Eleven,” Mallon said. “We are excited about a permanent home for soccer in Indianapolis.”
For years, Indy Eleven has eyed various sites in the downtown area, including the former Valspar site west of Lucas Oil Stadium, but it’s not entirely clear where the team now plans to build its development or if that site remains in contention.
IBJ reported in January 2020 that the team had scaled back its initial plans for a 20,000-seat stadium. Instead, the team is pursuing a venue that has at least 12,000 seats and could be expanded as the fan base grows.
Wherever the project goes, tax dollars would be used to help fund only the stadium portion. The remainder of Eleven Park—including apartments, retail, office and parking—would be privately funded.
SB 385 now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.