Fishermen propose food and drink tax to fund $170 million arena for Indy Fuel – Indianapolis Business Journal

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Angler officials are proposing to use a 1% food and beverage tax to help fund a new $170 million event center that would house minor league hockey team Indy Fuel.

The plan was presented Monday night at the Fishers City Council meeting.

The 8,500-seat event center is part of a larger $650 million expansion plan for Fishers District. The development is planned east of Interstate 69 between East 106th and East 116th streets and southeast of Ikea.

The Fuel, an affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, could begin playing games at the event center as early as the 2024-25 season if plans pan out. The event center would accommodate 6,500 fans for fuel and basketball games and approximately 8,000–8,500 people for concerts and other entertainment events.

The fishermen would own the arena and issue 40-year bonds to pay for the facility.

The city would make annual reimbursements of $9.7 million from four different sources: the city’s cumulative capital fund ($3.5 million), the food and beverage tax ($3 million ), operating revenue ($1.7 million) and a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT fund ($1.5 million).

The new tax would apply to all food and beverage purchases at Fishers restaurants and would increase restaurant sales tax from 8% to 9%. Fishers Deputy Mayor Elliott Hultgren noted that Hamilton County towns of Carmel, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville also have food and beverage taxes.

“One of our early goals was to make sure we weren’t raising property taxes to fund this project,” Hultgren said.

The City Fishermen’s Council will hold a public hearing on the Food and Beverage Tax on October 6. The council will vote on the tax on October 10. The tax would come into effect on December 1 if approved.

Indianapolis-based Thompson Thrift Development LLC is Fishers District’s master developer. The expansion project is also expected to include new retail, dining, entertainment and residential options.

Along with the Fuel, the event center would host sporting, theatrical and entertainment events.

Expansion plans for the fishing district also include:

  • Slate at Fishers District, a previously announced $63 million multi-family and garden community;
  • The Union, which is expected to include approximately 250 luxury apartments, 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 150 hotel rooms and up to 80,000 square feet of Class A office space;
  • and The Commons, which would include the event center and dining, retail and entertainment options.

The city council also unanimously approved plans for the $200 million Andretti Autosport headquarters on Monday and an updated proposal by Italian group Stevanato.

Andretti Autosport envisions a 575,000 square foot facility on 90 acres in the southeast quadrant of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport near East 96th Street and Hague Road. The land is near the Nickel Plate Trail and the Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve.

The Stevanato Group originally announced in June 2021 plans to spend $145 million to build a 370,000 square foot facility in Fishers, creating 250 well-paying jobs by the end of 2025.

Fishermen announced last week that the Stevanato Group had approached the city with a proposal to increase its investment in the facility to $512 million in a new facility and a plan to hire 515 employees by 2031.

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