Saturday, April 02, 2016

Fishers Officials Liteboxed By Sports Complex Developer

Oops, it happened again. A developer promising a pie-in-the-sky project appears to have fooled another group of local officials all too eager to give away our tax dollars like they grow on trees. That absurd, $77 million sports facility proposed for Fishers by a little-known developer on a 20-acre site remains the pipe dream it was when it was first announced more than a year ago by Fishers officials.

The IBJ is reporting that GK Sports Development, LLC of Carmel has failed to obtain financing for its project, which included a 4200-seat arena with an ice rink, a fieldhouse with 32 basketball and volleyball fields, a football field, an indoor track, a baseball training center and a 600-space parking garage. Meanwhile, the developer is pitching a nearly identical project in suburban Madison, Wisconsin where it is seeking $25 million in TIF funding.

One of the developer's principals, Barry Kiesel, has also been plagued by personal financial woes. He was ordered to pay a collection agency more than $10,000 in unpaid debt on a Sears credit card in January. In another legal skirmish, which included allegations of fraud over a construction project, he has agreed to pay $87,332. Documents filed in that court case indicated that Kiesel expected to be earning $2,000 per week once his first project was completed, along with a development fee of at least $1 million.

Fishers officials were pledging a 10-year tax abatement for the project and an $805,000 annual lease payment to the developer to use the proposed facility for local youth sports use. GK Sports Development claimed it was already booking events for 2016 when it pitched the proposal to Fishers' officials for a facility it said would attract Olympic athletes, NCAA division II and III teams and a minor league hockey team. Fishers officials held up approval of the deal until the developer secured its financing. "It’s in the developer’s court as to whether or not it will move forward," Mayor Scott Fadness told the IBJ. "I know they are still very aggressively pursuing their financing."


Anonymous said...

the whole 'youth sports movement' is totally and completely out of control. we now have families devoting their spare time and more than their spare funds to their kids' pipe dreams. in a suburban area this large, there are going to be some phenomenal athletes. but we have a world where every kid from age 6 is groomed as if they are a superstar. then, when reality catches up, they are dropped out of the system like cold potatoes. its wrong. parents, what are we doing to our kids? is this worth it? remember when kids played on their own? when there was family time? when you didn't have to pay for your own videographer to document every time little Johnny scores a goal? seriously, its madness. all parents want what is best for their child. but we've allowed this industry to capture and supplant our own role - to bring up mature, adjusted men and women. instead we have weekends spent on travel leagues where we all huddle around and pretend to be living. the good athletes will always rise to the top. its madness. sorry about the rant.

guy77money said...

Surprised Fisher's doesn't nix the investors and build something on a smaller scale. Getting a bit crowded with the big Westfield project. Fishers already has numerous indoor places to play hoops.

Sir Hailstone said...

Now now now now Fishers can't have something less than what Carmel and Westfield has. They have to build something bigger and better than the others. It's the arms race of colossal projects between Andy Crook, Jim Brainerd and Scott (It's-not-my-)Faultless.

8:03 AM - I'll tell you why that is - parents see pro athletes like Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, LeBron James, and others and think this is going to be how college will be paid for, and maybe even their retirement plan. There's that picture floating around Facebook of the little league baseball sign that reads "NO COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE HANDED OUT TODAY".

Sir Hailstone said...

Whoops - my bad. I said Scott Faultless in my previous comment. The mayor is Scott FADNESS

John Accetturo said...

Does anyone think it would be difficult to dupe these politicians?

Anonymous said...

"One of the developer's principals, Barry Kiesel, has also been plagued by personal financial woes. He was ordered to pay a collection agency more than $10,000 in unpaid debt on a Sears credit card in January. "

If this is true, our elected officials are even bigger idiots than I thought. A consumer credit card debt? This Kiesel is not a serious person. Serious people don't run up $10,000 bills at Sears of all places and then fail to make their card payment. This tells me that Fadness and Company did absolutely ZERO due diligence. A consumer credit card in collection pops up everywhere and is the biggest red flag imaginable.

But it isn't just Fadness. The people who elect these folks are also to blame. They vote for this nonsense. Indy is not a world class city and Fishers will never be a tech hub. Anybody who believes otherwise needs to get out more.

That doesn't mean Indy can't be a nice city. It should be and it could be if we stopped throwing money after pipe dreams, obsessing about being big league and started investing it in a way that allowed people who live here to thrive. There are some smaller cities in the nation's midsection that have done just that. They don't have mile after mile of abandonment. They don't have professional sports. Some have major colleges (Madison and Lincoln). Others don't (Duluth and Fargo). They're all smaller than we are but they're regionally important in the same way we are and they are all thriving.. Part of the reason why is because instead of throwing money at scam artists and building stadiums, they've chosen to allocate funds in a manner that benefits the greatest number of people. All are startup hotbeds. People want to live there in spite of some unbelievably bad weather. When you visit, you feel an energy that is missing in Indy. We could have this if we learned to think a little differently. Or we can keep doing what we're doing and complain about how badly we're getting ripped off.