The City of Carmel and Republic Airways have jointly announced that Republic Airways plans to move its training activities and corporate headquarters to Carmel, Indiana. Republic, one of the largest regional airlines in the U.S., will be part of a redevelopment project along the Meridian (U.S. 31) Corporate Corridor. In addition to its headquarters, the site will include a high-tech training facility for pilots, technicians, flight attendants and other positions within the airline, the expansion of an adjacent hotel and a new parking garage wrapped with commercial amenities on the first floor and multifamily living above.
The investment for the initial phases will bring approximately 1,900 new jobs to Carmel with estimated annual wages of $150 million and will allow the company to consolidate training centers currently located in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Indianapolis and a number of other locations. Republic operates a fleet of 220 Embraer aircraft and 6,000 aviation professionals located across 12 crew and maintenance bases, providing nearly 1,000 daily flights to 100 cities in 40 states, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America.
An increase in the daily flow of instructors, pilots, technicians and flight attendants in training and others who work at the corporate headquarters will breathe new life into a commercial development that was impacted by upgrades made to U.S. 31. These changes resulted in the loss of direct access from the highway due to the federal highway guidelines about spacing highway exits at least one mile apart.
Another positive impact will be an increase in employment opportunities and diversification of Carmel’s industry sectors that will help further stabilize our workforce. Carmel has been able to weather economic downturns in the past because we have a wide variety of businesses in our community better insulating us from a crisis of a specific sector.
The City of Carmel will also invest in the project through a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) bond that will be considered for approval by the Carmel City Council. The TIF bond will be used for infrastructure improvements, which will benefit and support both the public and the private corporate employees and visitors. Site development, parking facilities, streets and other infrastructure improvements will be funded by the increase in property tax revenues from the new building. The bonds will be backed solely by Republic Airways and the City of Carmel, and its taxpayers will have no liability.
Airline employees in training will be able to live on site during the course of their training. Brainard added that the training center will have a positive impact on local restaurants and retail businesses.
The 105,000 square-foot training facility will be three stories tall and visible to travelers on nearby U.S. 31, providing passersby with a unique view of pilot-training simulators through large bay windows that will face the highway. Within the development, an “eagles nest” viewing deck will allow visitors, school students and other aviation partners a unique view of the excitement of aviation.
Construction will begin with the training facility, which will include 20 classrooms, 94 workstations, two cabin trainers and eight flight simulators. After the corporate headquarters is constructed, four more classrooms will be added along with two more flight simulators. The hotel adjacent to the training center will be expanded to 274 rooms and used exclusively as accommodations for trainees, visiting instructors, business partners and colleagues traveling to the aviation campus.
A key part of the development will be the City of Carmel’s role in financing the construction of a new parking garage to serve both employees and visitors. The garage will not only be convenient it will also allow for more land to be developed in revenue-producing projects, as opposed to open, sprawling parking lots. In addition, the parking garage will be wrapped with commercial amenities on the first floor and multifamily living above, providing shopping and dining options for the thousands who will work in and visit Republic Airways’ facilities. These buildings will be operational 365 days a year. Training and recertification classes are scheduled consistently throughout the year.
Kite Realty is developing the site, and RATIO Architects has designed the buildings with a fresh modern architectural style reflective of technical nature of the facility. Amenities will include outdoor courtyards, rooftop terraces, recreational spaces and other gathering places that will provide places for employees and visitors to meet, relax or simply take a break from the busy working and training environment.