Indy Eleven secures land and partners for $1bn stadium project

USL Championship soccer club Indy Eleven has secured land for a $1bn (£825.7m/€954.6m) mixed-use development which will be anchored by a 20,000-seat stadium, and has appointed three key partners for the project.

In collaboration with local construction, development, management, and investments company Keystone Group, Indy Eleven has acquired over 20 acres of land in downtown Indianapolis that will serve as the future home of Eleven Park.

As per the conceptualisation of the development project outlined in January 2019, the latest news confirms the Eleven Park development will include hotel, office, apartments, retail and public spaces – all anchored by a multi-purpose stadium built with soccer at its core.

“We have been working diligently for the last several years to secure a large area of land downtown for Eleven Park, and with our prime location now secured we are eager to take the next steps for this groundbreaking development,” said Ersal Ozdemir, founder and chairman of Keystone Group and Indy Eleven.

“This village will be a 365-day-a-year live, work, and play community that will transform this section of Indianapolis, providing jobs and significant economic development to downtown Indianapolis and surrounding areas.”

The Eleven Park stadium will host Indy Eleven games for both its men’s and women’s professional soccer teams. The facility will also be designed to host lacrosse, football, rugby, and field hockey; events for partners such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA); international matches; concerts; and various community events.

Indy Eleven and Keystone have appointed three key additional partners for the Eleven Park project. Populous will serve as the stadium project’s lead architecture and design firm, partnering with Indianapolis-based Browning Day Architects. In addition, D3i, a Baltimore-based international design firm has been hired as the master planner for the project.

Keystone and Indy Eleven said they are continuing their ongoing discussions with the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana to finalise project terms this year, which would allow for tear down of existing buildings and additional site work to begin in Spring 2023. After approximately two years of construction, Indy Eleven expects to begin play at its new Eleven Park stadium home in Spring 2025.

Due to what the club and Keystone said were “a myriad of factors”, including the rise in construction costs, inflation, and an increase in the scale and scope of the project, Eleven Park is expected to exceed a $1bn investment, having originally been projected at $550m.

All facets outside the stadium project – retail, restaurants, hotel, apartments, and office space – will be developed by Keystone Group. As per state legislation that was passed and signed into law in 2019, the City of Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board (CIB) would own the Eleven Park stadium, while Indy Eleven would lease and operate the venue.

“We believe this site is the best place to invest knowing it will have a transformational impact to the southside of Indianapolis, serving as a new neighbourhood village within the Stadium Village Neighborhood that bridges the central business district, Victory Field, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Convention Center, the White River, and the Elanco campus,” continued Ozdemir.

“This location, along with the new Henry Street bridge and extension of the Cultural Trail, will serve as an important gateway to the city and bring connectivity and a pedestrian connection to the heart of downtown.”

In April 2019, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed off on plans to dedicate almost $400m to arena and stadium projects for the Pacers NBA basketball team and Indy Eleven.

Indy Eleven currently calls the 12,100-seat IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium home, having played at Lucas Oil Stadium, the venue of NFL franchise the Indianapolis Colts, from 2018 to 2020.

Image: Indy Eleven