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Legislation Could Back Bankers Life Fieldhouse Renovations

Indiana Pacers

Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that, if approved, could fund Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations and help secure a lease extension with the Indiana Pacers

Located in downtown Indianapolis, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has been home to the Pacers since its opening in 1999. With the team’s lease approaching its 2024 expiration, the Pacers and officials from the capital improvement board (CIB)–which manages the arena–are expected to discuss major upgrades to the facility.

Legislation filed by Indiana senator Ryan Mishler, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, could help the CIB with funding potential upgrades to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and other facilities. The legislation could evolve over the coming months, but it calls for revenues generated within special taxing districts in downtown Indianapolis to be directed toward the CIB and help fund facility upgrades. For right now there are plenty of unanswered questions on what potential Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovations would look like, but CIB president Melina Kennedy emphasizes that improvements are needed to help keep the Pacers at the facility for a longer term. More from the Indianapolis Star:

Mishler, the state’s point person on negotiations, has filed Senate Bill 7, which would raise $8 million to $8.5 million annually in taxes for the CIB from 2022 through 2041. The revenue would come from a special taxing district centered on the proposed redevelopment of Pan Am Plaza.

The CIB also wants to renew existing taxing districts that capture roughly $24 million annually in order to secure long-term funding. Those districts, which are created through a series of legislative, state and city approvals, are generally set to expire in the next five to 10 years. They would be extended to 2038 or later….

The CIB also plans more modest improvements at Lucas Oil Stadium and Victory Field in time. Again, specifics for those upgrades haven’t been released.

“Bankers Life needs the most major refresh over the next decade,” Kennedy said of CIB-managed properties. “That goes hand-in-hand with ensuring the Pacers stay here in the long haul.”

From the state’s prospective, this is a busy legislative session when it comes to bills relating to sports facilities, as professional soccer’s Indy Eleven (USL Championship) is seeking public funding for a stadium that would be constructed as part of a larger development project. It also remains to be seen what the Pacers will expect from future Bankers Life Fieldhouse improvements, but the renovations could perhaps include social spaces and significant technology upgrades, reflecting ongoing trends in both NBA and NHL arena renovations.

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