Carmel resident Ersal Ozdemir’s mission to have a stadium for his Indy Eleven soccer team has taken a new form.
Ozdemir, CEO of Keystone Realty Group, recently revealed plans for Eleven Park, which is described as a transformational neighborhood development in Indianapolis. It would include a public plaza, office building, retail, apartments and hotel all anchored by a 20,000-seat multi-purpose soccer stadium. An exact site hasn’t been determined.
“This is more than a stadium,” Ozdemir said. “It is the opportunity to create a vibrant community that will attract individuals and families from near and far to live, work and play. We believe that the Eleven Park development will improve quality of place in Indianapolis by creating an entirely new neighborhood that will help attract and retain quality workers and families.”
State Sen. Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) introduced a bill to create a sports development area to help finance the planned soccer stadium. The proposal would allow the area to capture up to $11 million per year in tax increment financing to pay off bonds for the $150 million stadium plan.
“Eleven Park is not asking for a penny in appropriations from the city or state governments, and instead we would work to create this stadium as a community asset using a public private partnership,” Ozdemir said.
Eleven Park spokesman Tim Phelps said the proposal is in the initial development stage.
“There are multiple steps that will need to be taken in order to make the vision a reality,” Phelps said. “If the Indiana General Assembly passes enabling legislation and the project is subsequently approved by the City of Indianapolis, it is anticipated that the stadium portion of the development would open in time for the 2022 Indy Eleven season.”
One published report had the former home of Broad Ripple High School considered as a site.
“We are evaluating multiple sites in Indianapolis and have no further comment on any site that has previously been or is currently under consideration for Eleven Park,” Phelps said.
Major League Soccer has made it clear that a professional soccer-specific stadium is a requirement for a MLS bid, Phelps said.
“Indy Eleven is proud to play in the United Soccer League but has been transparent about its desire to play at the highest level of professional soccer in the United States,” Phelps said. “There are no guarantees, but the unveiling of a multi-purpose soccer stadium as part of Eleven Park combined with the subsequent announcement that top North American sports executive Greg Stemlaw would join the team as CEO sends a strong signal that Indianapolis remains on that path.”
Phelps said although the Indy Eleven would be the primary tenant, the proposed stadium also could be utilized for other professional and amateur sporting events, concerts or other community events.
Average attendance in 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium was just more than 10,000 fans. The team previously played at IUPUI’s soccer stadium.
The project includes approximately 150,000 square feet of office space, 100,000 square feet of retail, 600 apartment units and a 200-room boutique hotel.
“Soccer is the globe’s most popular sport and the world’s game needs a permanent home in our state,” Ozdemir stated. “By paving the way for a world-class soccer facility as part of this transformational development, Indiana can fully capture a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the future of soccer in its capital city.”