Fishers Sports Pavilion project struggles to secure financing

Nearly six months ago, Mayor Scott Fadness announced plans for the $76.4 million Fishers Sports Pavilion, but the project has yet to receive final approval as he remains adamant that financing be secure before the council takes action.

The Fishers City Council had been expected to sign off on the economic incentives for the massive youth sports complex and entertainment venue in May, but the decision was postponed and hasn’t returned to the council since then.

City officials aren’t rushing to kill the project though, because no public funds have been spent on it yet.

The facility, which would be located near 136th Street and Olio Road near the Saxony Village, would include a 245,000-square-foot fieldhouse that could accommodate 31 different sports and an arena for entertainment shows, athletic events and concerts that could seat 4,200-6,000 people.

A 630-space, three-story parking garage was also included in plans, along with space for a sports medicine facility, offices, a hotel and conference center on the land.

The city has offered a 10-year tax abatement totaling $2 million, plus a waiver of about $800,000 in fees. It would also lease the facility under a 20-year agreement for $805,000 annually to give residents access to some of the courts in the fieldhouse and the walking and jogging track.

The project has been led by Barry Kiesel with Noblesville-based GK Sports and Entertainment and Val Belmonte, principal of Game 7 LLC.

When initially presented to the Fishers City Council in April, Kiesel and Belmonte said construction could start by summer and the facility could be open within nine months.

In June, Kiesel and Belmonte told a group of business leaders in the sports and tourism industry that they had started booking events for 2016.

But the proposal appears to be in limbo as the developers have been unable to finalize financing for it.

City officials have said that the issues might be due to property appraisals coming in lower than expected, but as far as they know, the developers are continuing to work with banks and financial institutions to get the project off the ground.

When asked about the financing and appraisal issues, Kiesel declined to comment.

“We will provide updates when are ready to make announcements on construction time lines,” Kiesel wrote in an email to IBJ.

The city hasn’t imposed any deadline on the developers. Fadness mentioned earlier this month that eventually the city might need to kill the project, but there is no timeline for when that could happen.

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