Tuesday, July 14 2009
Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel announced today that the city plans to build a new arena on land occupied by parts of the Executive Inn and adjacent properties along Southeast Sixth Street.
To make way for the project, the city will demolish the sections of the Executive Inn other than the hotel's tower on Walnut Street. The tower, containing about 250 rooms, will be renovated by Browning Investments, an Indianapolis company.
The arena project will meanwhile extend across Locust Street down to Main Street.
The site wasn’t the city’s first choice. In December, a local advisory board charged with making a plan to either replace or renovate Roberts Stadium decided the city should build a new arena on the site of the D-Patrick lot. But negotiations between the D-Patrick owners and city officials stalled in the following months, as the two sides seemed unable to agree on a price.
Weinzapfel said today he thinks the current plan is better for the city. It ensure the new arena will be connected to both The Centre, via the Executive Inn, and Main Street.
In June, city officials added both the Ford lot and the Executive Inn site to an acquisition list, saying that was a necessary step toward the purchase of either property. For their part, representatives of the Executive Inn, affiliated with a Chicago-area bank, said they would sell the Downtown hotel for the same amount of money they had put into it. The bank, named Mutual Bank, had loaned $12.4 million to finance the 2007 purchase of the Executive Inn, later acquiring the property after the former owner had fallen behind on payments.
Besides D-Patrick and the Executive Inn sites, the city also considered building the arena on land occupied by the old Greyhound bus station.
The new arena is expected to cost between $117 million and $127 million. John Kish, arena manager, said he thinks it possible to still stay within that budget.
City officials propose to pay for it using money from the Downtown Tax Increment Financing, casino receipts and food-and-beverage taxes, according to a plan prepared by the city's financing consultant London Witte. In May, state legislators passed a bill that allows revenues from the local food-and-beverage tax, now dedicated to paying off bonds used to build The Centre, to go to the local arena.