Indianapolis-based Republic Airways has announced plans to establish a new aviation campus in Carmel. The airline says the project will bring its corporate headquarters, training activities, and nearly 2,000 jobs to the city’s Meridian Corporate Corridor.
As part of the project, Republic says it will consolidate its training centers in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis and other locations into one, high-tech training facility for use by pilots, technicians, flight attendants and other positions. There will also be an expansion of an adjacent hotel and construction of a new parking garage that will also feature commercial and residential space.
“This project ensures Republic is positioned to attract and retain the most talented and trained professionals in aviation by creating a space designed specifically to meet the needs of our associates and to reduce inefficiencies,” Matt Koscal, chief administrative officer for Republic, said in a news release. “Locating in the city of Carmel indicates our desire to provide a first-class corporate campus and training facility as this city is often listed among the best places to live, work and raise a family.”
The project is being developed by Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group Trust (NYSE: KRG), along with Pure Development in Indy.
The three-story, 105,000-square-foot training facility will include 20 classrooms, nearly 100 workstations, two cabin trainers and eight flight simulators. The city says the simulators will be visible to drivers on U.S. 31 through large bay windows facing the highway. There will also be an “eagles nest” viewing deck on the property for people to view the simulators.
Kite President and Chief Operating Officer Tom McGowan says the real estate investment trust has acquired the current Hampton Inn at the site, which will be expanded to 274 rooms. The existing hotel will be completely renovated in addition to the new wing and the rooms will be exclusively reserved for trainees, visiting instructors, business partners and colleagues traveling to the campus.
During Monday’s city council meeting, Koscal said work on the project could begin this quarter with the flight simulators being operational by the fourth quarter of 2022. The remainder of the training hub and the hotel portion of the project are expected to be complete by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
“We are especially pleased that their state-of-the-art training facility will bring opportunities for career and workforce development in an industry sector that is not available elsewhere in the area,” said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard. “The ancillary increase in commerce from supporting trades and other industries will further improve our economy. We are also looking forward to the new residents this will bring to the community who can enrich our lives through participation in volunteer outreach and other citizen engagement.”
The city says it will invest in the project through a Tax Increment Financing Bond, subject to approval from the Carmel City Council. The bond will be used for infrastructure improvements and the city says taxpayers will not be liable for the bond.
Republic adds the project is the first phase of what could be additional development just north of the site that would include another corporate headquarters building, as well as more than 250,000 square feet of multifamily living space and over 1,000 additional parking spots.
“When I look at the north end of this campus…we really believe that there are other partners in aviation that we would like work together to attract here to make Indiana a place for aviation,” Koscal said during the council meeting. “So, it’s not just the place with the second-largest regional airline with the desire to be the largest regional airline in the country one day. But, it becomes an epicenter of aviation technology and forward thinking as we look to generating the workforce of the future for this very important an economically advantageous industry for the state and for the city.”
Republic says the new jobs will come with total estimated annual wages of $150 million. Koscal says the project builds on the airline’s existing Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy at Indianapolis International Airport.