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Indy Eleven owner ‘surprised’ by mayor’s goal to pursue MLS team

Interview with Ersal Ozdemir, founder and owner of Keystone Group and Indy Eleven

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ersal Ozdemir, founder and owner of Keystone Group and Indy Eleven, sat down with News 8’s Phil Sanchez on Monday afternoon.

They talked about the future of the Indy Eleven after Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett last week announced plans to pursue a Major League Soccer team.

The Indy Eleven are the United Soccer League men’s and women’s teams in Indianapolis, and they play at Indiana University’s Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium in downtown Indianapolis. Eleven Park is being built downtown as a part of the teams’ growth. Ozdemir says he has not had discussions with the mayor since his announcement.

Ozdemir told Sanchez, “I was surprised with the announcement, I did not expect the announcement. We had been working with the mayor. As you know, Keystone is one of the largest private real estate developers in the state. We’ve done a lot of projects in the city. We successfully put over $300 million in the last few years in downtown. We have worked with administration successfully, and I have a good relationship with the administration and the mayor, but I didn’t expect the announcement when it came, but again the mayor is a friend, I’m happy to get in a room today to figure out a way to get Eleven Park built.”

The mayor last week said the city will create what’s defined in state law as a Professional Sports Development Area for a new soccer stadium. It’s address would be 355 E. Pearl St. That’s east and northeast of the Virginia Avenue Parking Garage that has elevated walkways connected to Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. It’s also near the former Marion County jail and the City-County Building.

The area will be presented to the Department of Metropolitan Development during a meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The city already has created the Professional Sports Development Area created for Eleven Park, a 20,000-seat multipurpose stadium under construction. Along the shore of the White River between West Washington Street and Kentucky Avenue, the Eleven Park project will create the stadium; over 600 apartments; 205,000 square feet of office space; over 197,000 square feet for retail space and restaurants; a hotel; public plazas with green space; and public parking garages.