Under the rules of golf, a hole must be completed by actually knocking the ball into the hole. In friendly play, a putt of a couple of feet is frequently conceded, and is known as a "gimmee" (give me), to speed up play. The length of such a "gift" can sometimes be controversial, depending on the "fiscal arrangements" between competing players.
We have been, and continue to be, distressed by the length of the fiscal "gimmees" being handed out by the city of Indianapolis. Among the worst is the $1 per year lease donated to the basketball team for the $185 million palace in which they play and from which they receive all basketball and non-basketball revenues.
An article in the new issue of the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) concerning a deal to make use of the Old City Hall building (OCH) informs us that we are in that long-length gimmee business again. Another $1 per year lease of city-owned land.
An organization known as 21c Museum Hotels is the recipient of this handout so that, with additional public funds, it will build a 9-story hotel on city owned land north of the OCH. In case you might not have guessed it, at least part of the city contribution will come from TIF funds. The deal will involve substantial renovation of the old building which will be used as the hotel lobby and a variety of meeting places and arts functions.
We don’t know the size of the "foot print" of the proposed building. But if a 9-story hotel building can be put there, we wonder why that combined usage of land and building has never been suggested - or rejected? - as the appropriate place for construction of the new justice center.
There is one point which seems to be missing from the IBJ story. The very last paragraph reads as follows; "The city would continue to own the Alabama Street lot on which the hotel will be built and will lease it to 21c for $1 per year."
That tells us of the land "gift." What we are not told is the fiscal arrangement for the building itself. Is the building included with that land lease? Who will be the owner of the building? Who will be the landlord with maintenance responsibility? If it still belongs to the city, what financial responsibility will lie with the 21c Museum Hotels corporation?
Warning! If you are the opponent in any of our golf games, this deal ain’t no gimmee!!