Fishers ends sports complex plan after developer fails to secure financing

A proposal to open a massive sports complex in Fishers is officially dead after a years-long effort to make the project a reality.

In April 2015, GK Sports Development introduced a plan to build a $77 million, 500,000-square-foot facility that would accommodate training or play for 31 sports, with six turf fields, 12 hard-surface courts and a baseball training center. Plans also called for a half-mile walking and jogging track that would wrap around the complex on a second level.

The project first was expected to be built near 136th Street and Olio Road and was later moved to a site east of Olio Road along the south side of Southeastern Parkway.

But the developer struggled to secure financing, and the project never broke ground, even after GK Sports scaled back its plans and the Fishers City Council approved a development plan and agreement that included a special revenue bond.

“We’ve always said that the only way this project would move forward is if they were able to secure their financing or proof of their financing,” Mayor Scott Fadness told IBJ. “We spent a lot of time and effort and due diligence making sure it was a viable project in terms of whether it would meet the community’s need.”

In August 2017, the city approved a development plan for a $70 million, 382,000-square-foot complex with 245,000 square feet of turf, 12 hard-surface courts and a 17,600-square-foot baseball training center. The council also agreed to issue a special revenue bond of up to $75 million that would be repaid by revenue from the facility and developer. But that plan was contingent on the developer being able to sell the bonds.

At the time, GK Sports officials said they thought they could close on financing in 30 to 45 days. They expected construction to begin in fall 2017, and the facility to open at the end of 2018.

Now, with no forward motion on the facility, the city is no longer pursuing the project and has taken the plans off the table, Fadness told IBJ.

“Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that they were not going to be able to get the financing. And so, at that point, we just said, ‘it’s time to put a finality to this.’”

When contacted by IBJ, Barry Kiesel, partner at GK Sports Development, confirmed the project was dead, but he declined further comment.

“I don’t have any comment on that,” he said. “That was all up to Fishers.”

Fadness said many residents still want to see an indoor sports complex in Fishers, so the city would entertain that possibility with the right development.

“I think there’s a general need for indoor recreational space for our community,” he said. “Whether you’re talking kids, whether you’re talking seniors, I do believe that there’s a need. The delivery model of that we’ll have to reevaluate and think through.”

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