INDIANAPOLIS – The Capital Improvement Board just approved a 2014 budget that includes a $21 million investment in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
CIB President Ann Lathrop said the board is working on a long-term deal with Pacers Sports and Entertainment to help guarantee a long-lasting relationship between the city and the team.
The $21 million investment in the Fieldhouse includes $11 million to assist with operational costs and $10 million to help with building upgrades and repairs.
“We don’t want to be in a position to lose any professional franchise,” said Chris Gahl with Visit Indy.
“We’re working on having a good place holder to get a deal negotiated,” Lathrop.
The lease between Pacers Sports and Entertainment and the CIB runs into 2019, but a $10 million dollar extension of its agreement made last year ends in June of 2014. After that date, the team can leave Indianapolis if it pays back a certain amount of money to the city.
Lathrop said she was confident Wednesday that they can work out a deal by the end of the year. Negotiations are ongoing.
“We definitely want a long-term tenant. They bring the Pacers, they bring the Fever, and they have done an excellent job of bringing concerts to town. When you think about losing that, that’s not an easy thing to replace,” Lathrop said.
“Having an NBA franchise, and one that is thriving, certainly helps and aids our ability to drive tourism,” Gahl added.
The Pacers declined to comment on the negotiations or operational costs.
The Indianapolis City-County Council will also need to approve the CIB budget. A decision is expected on October 14.
The 2014 CIB budget is $114.9 million, a $35 million increase over the 2013 budget of $80 million. The increase is driven by the investments in the Fieldhouse, major repair and maintenance projects at the Indiana Convention Center and an anticipated payment to the city for its share of the admissions and auto rental taxes.
A $33.1 million deficit is expected. Reserve funds will be used if the current budget becomes final.