INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Regional Operations Center, the embattled city-leased building that once served as a public safety hub before it was closed for safety concerns, will re-open before this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, city officials confirmed to I-Team 8.
The Emergency Operations Center will move back into the ROC before Sunday’s race, Al Larsen, a Department of Public Safety spokesman, told I-Team 8. It remains unclear how long it will be before IMPD moves East District officers back into the former Eastgate Mall property.
Department of Public Safety Director Troy Riggs forced the city’s police and homeland security departments to evacuate the building in September, citing numerous safety violations. Up until that point, the building was seen as a vital resource for public safety that helped provide security during 2012 when Indianapolis played host to the Super Bowl.
But after it closed, a contentious legal battle began with the building’s owner, Alex Carroll, which ended in December with the city agreeing to pay Carroll to make what it considered to be necessary safety corrections.
The building’s owner, Alex Carroll, provided I-Team 8 a statement.
Here is a portion of that statement:
“401-Public Safety has not been notified of a date IMPD personnel will move back in, but we understand they are making plans to do so.
The remaining exterior work at the ROC will be completed over the next two to three months. Our first priority was completing the interior items, and we have been waiting for better weather for exterior painting.
The remaining work on the ROC is part of a final punch list of items both sides agreed to in December. Construction began immediately after the City secured permits.
401 Public Safety is eager to welcome IMPD personnel back to the ROC. It is an excellent location with many customized features to support the needs of public safety emergency services.”
The building has become a contentious public safety issue among city leaders within the past six months. A city-county council committee has been investigating what led to the lease agreement between the city and Carroll. Some committee members have claimed the rules that govern how the city enters lease deals were ignored or misunderstood.
Committee members repeatedly demanded the city turn over records related to the deal. When those records weren’t returned as promptly as some on the committee would have liked, the council moved to sue Mayor Ballard’s administration over the deal. That matter is still pending before the courts.
Some city leaders are questioning the deal.
The $18 million lease agreement is good for 25 years. At the end of its term, the city doesn’t own the building but must pay at least $57,000 a month in rent for the first half of the lease agreement. Rent payments increase for the remaining years of the lease.
Carroll says he invested his own money in the building he owns, saying the city got the space it’s leasing for less than $10 per square foot.