IU Health to lease 11 acres in Hancock County for Lifeline heliport operations


By Mickey Shuey

Indiana Business Journal

Indiana University Health is nearing a deal with the Indianapolis Airport Authority to develop a new LifeLine helicopter transport headquarters near Greenfield.

The hospital network has agreed to lease 11.4 acres at the Indianapolis Regional Airport in Hancock County from the airport authority, according to an agenda filed ahead of the agency’s Friday board meeting. The initial 30-year lease term would begin the sooner of either Oct. 1, 2025, or sixty days after IU Health completes construction of its heliport facilities. The agreement also has four renewal options of five years each.

The agreement with the airport authority comes as the organization moves forward with plans to decommission the Indianapolis Downtown Heliport, where IU Health’s LifeLine transport operations for the city are based.

The hospital network is also about 25% through construction on its $4.3 billion consolidated downtown campus, which will feature two helipads for quick take-off and landing activity.

“IU Health LifeLine is in close communication with the Indianapolis Airport Authority on the relocation plan of our downtown operations, which are expected to be finalized soon and shared at the upcoming IAA board meeting,” IU Health LifeLine officials said in a statement to IBJ.

IU Health declined to share details of its planned investment in the site, which would be at the southwest corner of West Airport Boulevard and North Aviation Way, about a half-mile east of North 600 West.

While a copy of the full lease was not immediately made available to IBJ, the airport authority agenda indicates that the deal calls for annual rent of $124,146, which would be subject to increase every five years. The maximum rent increase during the term would be 13%, with the increase based on calculations from the federal Consumer Price Index.

The health care provider is also paying for the cost of extending sanitary sewer lines to the site—a cost typically handled by a landowner—in exchange for rental credits totaling about $125,000. IU Health will pay for all utilities, maintenance and operating costs during its lease.

IU Health LifeLine deploys helicopters from five critical care facilities across the state, including Terre Haute, West Lafayette, Columbus and New Castle. The helicopters themselves are operated by Louisiana-based Metro Aviation Inc.

A representative for the Indianapolis Airport Authority did not return a request for comment.