Lebanon Fieldhouse is the proposed project at Indiana 39 and I-65. The 270,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility will anchor a hugh entertainment and residential which is expected to bring 60,000 visitors to Lebanon monthly. Submitted rendering
Lebanon Fieldhouse is the proposed project at Indiana 39 and I-65. The 270,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility will anchor a hugh entertainment and residential which is expected to bring 60,000 visitors to Lebanon monthly. Submitted rendering
Lebanon will be home to a 270,000-square-foot multi-sport fieldhouse which is expected to hold eight sports courts for basketball and volleyball, plus two football-sized fields which will support soccer, lacrosse and little league. There will be pitching and hitting tunnels and a 20,000 foot mezzanine with restaurants and retail amenities.

The “Lebanon Fieldhouse” will anchor a hospitality and entertainment complex featuring a medical office building in partnership with a major medical group, hotels and a 30-acre senior-living residential cwommunity.

In all, the investment, by Indiana’s own Card and Associates, is expected to top $250 million.

“Lebanon has been trying to find the right fit for nearly a decade,” Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry said in the joint press conference with the project’s developer about the site tucked in the southeast corner of Ind. 39 and Interstate 65. “I can’t even tell you how many offers we got to try to buy the property from us over the years. Various groups suggested everything from a truck stop to an ATV power sports dealership.”

Gentry hung on for a better and “higher use” use for the site. The multi-sport complex and the youth sports lifestyle mall was the project which fit not only his vision but the vision of former Mayor John Lasley who gave his first and only State of the City address in the hotel that graced the property for 40 years.

The city is expected to backstop loans for the developer in financing and support the project by building roads and utilities. Also, the city is donating the 11 acres it owns on the lot which was cleared of the abandoned hotel nearly 10 years ago.

“It will be a national presence, but will also be serving the local kids and local community,” CEO and owner Andy Card said of the draw the facility will have.

Construction is expected to begin next year with the fieldhouse completed by 2023. The entire development is expected to be built out by 2028. Taxpayers will not see any increase, Gentry vowed as he announced the deal on Thursday morning.

Although talks started in July of 2020, Card said the details were quiet because of a similar Whitestown development happening on the former Wrecks Incorporated site with another developer.

“We really tried to keep this under wraps because we’re going to kick the butts of our buddies down south, here,” Card said with a smile. “Didn’t want the kimono to get open too early. Now that it’s open, buddy, look out!”

It will start on the land that was first developed as a Holiday Inn hotel and Holidome in the 1970s. Card has also purchased another 88 acres of farmland to the south for the residential community and hotels. It will extend Enterprise Boulevard into the residential apartment complex.

He said the $250 million price tag is a conservative estimate because the multi-family residential partner has purchased even more land.

“Today, we have just north of $115 million or so committed,” Card said. “And I think by the end of spring next year, we’ll have commitments across the entire property.”

The residential community is geared toward seniors and will feature luxury apartments, a resort-style pool, and state-of-the-art fitness center built by Bel Canto Asset Growth Fund, a Philadelphia-based developer. CEO Jennifer Nevitt is a native Hoosier and grew up in Arcadia.

Card is committed to having the company stay involved and says he and Bel Canto are not in the business to “flip.”

“So when we come, we stay,” he said. “This is a legacy project for me and my family, as well as Bel Canto.”

For now it is called the Lebanon Fieldhouse, but Card said he will sell the naming rights in the future. Card and Associates is currently based in Noblesville and has similar projects in its portfolio such as Finch Creek Fieldhouse and the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield at Grand Park.

This is the company’s biggest project to date. Card is hoping the Lebanon Fieldhouse will be able to host high school tournaments as well as youth recreational sports leagues. He told the crowd at the announcement that the company expects 60,000 visitors every month.

He said the most important feature of the property is interstate access.

“One of the most important things we look for when we go to a property is the connectivity to the infrastructure,” he said. “Because moms and dads need to be able to carpool, to be able to get in and out of the facilities. If we have these tournaments come to town, we’ve got to have the infrastructure for people to come in and out.”

The facility will include a court for championship tournaments, graduations and possibly the new Basketball League team The Lebanon Leprechauns, Card said.

The football fields will transform to convention space, he added, with a unique flooring system.

“We’ll have auto shows, baseball card shows, all those types of things because we cover up the turf,” he said.

Card owned a family trucking company, then partnered in Hot Box Pizza. He describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He sold the other businesses to build fieldhouses because his sons were in a traveling basketball league in odd places such as churches or gyms with no air conditioning. He also noticed the thousands of families who came along.

He said his idea is going national in talks with communities in Florida, Las Vegas, Denver and two more Indiana facilities.

“It’s turned out to be a really good thing,” he said.
© 2022 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.