FROM THE INDIANAPOIS BUSINESS JOURNAL

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Indy Fuel owners Jim and Sean Hallett on Thursday announced plans to build a $20 million hockey and ice-skating facility in Greenwood.

Standing with Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers, the father-and-son duo said the a 115,000-square-foot Greenwood Iceplex would be built on six acres in Freedom Park, south of Smith Valley Road between State Road 135 and U.S. 31 South.

The official announcement added details to plans Jim Hallett revealed last month, when he told IBJ he had plans to open multiple ice rinks around the city and would make an announcement on a south-side venue in March. The Halletts said they’d like to make hockey, ice skating and other ice sports more available for central Indiana residents.

The Greenwood Iceplex is expected to feature two ice rinks, two turf fields that can be converted to two additional ice rinks, a fitness and training facility, locker rooms, retail space and a food-service area.

Freedom Park is also home to Freedom Springs Aquatic Center, which Greenwood officials said drew 150,000 visitors during its first two years of operation.

Under terms of the agreement between the Halletts and the city of Greenwood, the Halletts will lease the land for $1 per month and have agreed to invest at least $20 million into the facility.

The deal calls for the Halletts to lease the land for 60 years, Greenwood officials said in a press release.

“This is going to be a major destination,” said Sean Hallett. “We’re creating a first-class facility unlike anything else in the region.”

The facility is expected to be a destination for regional tournaments and events.

Myers praised the project as a milestone for the community.

“This is a game-changer, both for Greenwood and hockey in the Hoosier state,” said Myers. “The Halletts have clearly demonstrated their commitment, and we look forward to a long, successful partnership with Jim, Sean and the entire family.”

Jim Hallett told IBJ last month that he is looking to open more than one ice complex in central Indiana.

The Hallett’s manage the ice rink at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, which is home to the Fuel, a minor-league professional team. They also own and operate the Fuel Tank at Fishers.

Jim Hallett told IBJ in February that he and his son are in conversations with more than two area communities about opening ice rinks. He said central Indiana needs five first-class ice rinks to serve resident demands and to grow hockey and other ice sports, including figure skating, curling and broom ball.

“There absolutely is a pent-up demand,” he said.

Jim Hallett told IBJ he wants to do for central Indiana what Wayne Gretzky did for Los Angeles when he played for the National Hockey League’s Kings in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“We’re approaching it from the ground up,” he said. “Youth hockey provides the foundation, and it takes sustained financial investment and dedication to build and grow the sport at that level. It’s about creating an infrastructure for hockey’s long-term growth and popularity, and Greenwood is an ideal fit for this project.”

The nearby Center Grove area to the west is an affluent community and something of a south-side hockey hotbed, and could give the Iceplex a boost.

The Halletts said they’re convinced that by opening up area ice rinks, they’ll grow the Fuel’s fan base.

“Yes, Indianapolis has had professional hockey since 1938, but until now, no one has really invested in the sport,” said Jim Hallett, who grew up playing hockey in Canada and has lived in Indianapolis for more than two decades after coming to the United States to oversee the North American operations of auto-auction powerhouse ADESA Corp.

“Investing in the sport is investing in youth hockey—for boys and girls,” Hallett said. “That’s how you build the fan base and ensure your future, and that’s what we’re doing.”