INDIANAPOLIS — Pacers Sports & Entertainment, through its subsidiary Plaza Entertainment, LLC, has unveiled a plan to construct a $20 million, two-story bar/restaurant/event center next door to Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
The proposal will be examined during a public hearing before the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission next month.
During the preliminary review Wednesday, commissioner Susan Williams voiced her support for the proposed Bicentennial Unity Plaza Entertainment Complex.
“I’m excited abut this. I love the architecture, I love the way it relates to the plaza, I love what it does on Delaware Street.”
The proposed building would fill a vacant lot in the 100 block of South Delaware Street and border the Fieldhouse Plaza, which is under construction and will be nestled between Gainbridge and Maryland Street.
The commission approved a pair of sculptures for the plaza: an arched structure to be located near the basketball court/ice rink and a sphere to include interactive video images for visitors closer to Pennsylvania Street.
While one commissioner had reservations about the lack of historical appearance of the proposed building in the Wholesale District, Justin Myers of Ratio Architects explained the event center will have a contemporary feel that will blend in with the Fieldhouse and another building owned by PSE at 147 East Maryland Street.
“The rhythm on the street, in my opinion, is what people are going to experience in a lot of ways,” said Myers.
Across the street from Gainbridge, at Sauce on the Side, owner Kels Watson anticipates more potential customers visiting downtown year-round.
“We have those high days, and we have those low days, so we need more opportunities to get people back down here, especially since we have this summer of nothing coming up here really quick,” he said. “It’s not just waiting for the Pacers to play, it’s not just waiting for that concert to come around, you have the possibility of 365 days of community down here, events going down here.”
Watson launched his calzone restaurant two months before the pandemic shutdown of 2020. He’s hopeful more visitors will mean more business and an excuse to hire more employees.
“Might be a little bit of competition, but competition is good. More people down here gives us more opportunities to get our name out there,” said Watson, his apron covered with flour from making lunch in the restaurant’s kitchen. “In three years, I just envision having activities on a day-to-day basis. People have a nice community area to go to, whether it’s to just hang out, go see an event, from what we’ve heard maybe it’s outdoor music, ice skating, year-round activities would be great.”
Gainbridge Fieldhouse, owned by the Capital Improvement Board, is currently undergoing a $360 million renovation, of which PSE has contributed $65 million.
Fieldhouse Plaza is funded by a $28.5 million grant from the Lilly Foundation.