Airport Seeks 'Optimal Project'

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INDIANAPOLIS -

After continued public scrutiny, a proposed $500 million medical research development at the former Indianapolis International Airport site is officially off the table. In a statement, Indianapolis International Airport Authority Board President Kelly Flynn says options for the property are open again and the search will continue for "the optimal project that will provide significant benefits to central Indiana and especially the west side of Indianapolis."

Earlier this week, the board removed a previously-scheduled discussion on the project from the agenda of its Friday meeting. A statement issued by the board said "the Indianapolis Airport Authority has the clear and honorable responsibility to be a good steward to our community. The airport continues to listen to the community’s input and will always put our community first."

The project was pitched by little-known, Indianapolis-based Athlete's Business Network last month. Plans included a global brain health center that would anchor a sports and mixed-use campus. It would've also included a hotel, 20,000-seat sports complex and multiple office buildings. ABN said the development would eventually lead to more than 3,000 jobs, take up around 130 acres and be built in three phases.

The full statement from IAA Board President Kelly Flynn reads:

The Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) has a clear responsibility to be a good steward to our community. The airport has been listening to the community’s input and will always put our community first, so the IAA has canceled the request for proposals (RFP) for the 130 acres at the former airport site. We will leave our options open and continue to search for the optimal project that will provide significant benefits to Central Indiana and, especially, the west side of Indianapolis. We will also continue to engage and gather feedback from our stakeholders, including the City of Indianapolis, our neighboring communities and others.

The airport has had success returning non-aviation land to productive use and will continue to make that a priority in order to create jobs for families, put money back on the property tax rolls and boost economic development on the west side that will impact all of Central Indiana. Nearly two years ago, we engaged with elected officials, local communities and organizations to present our new Land Use Initiative designed to return 3,200 acres of land, including the 130 acres at the former airport site. Much of this plan has already been accomplished, including an auction that sold 335 acres, property sale agreements for approximately 100 acres, a Development Agreement for 303 acres, signed documents intended to lead to the sale of 210 acres at one of our smaller airports and 2,100 acres of conservation land.

The airport is an important part of this community, employing 10,000 workers and generating $4.5 billion in economic impact each year.  We remain committed to stimulating even more economic impact by returning airport land to the people we serve.

Flynn, who has been on the board since 2004, was elected president last month. He is senior partner at Flynn & Zinkan Realty Co.

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