CHICAGO — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said the city has tapped an international consortium led by Meridiam Infrastructure and Walsh Investors LLC to partner on a $400 million new criminal justice center that will the largest public-private project of its kind in the U.S.

Ballard said he chose WMB Heartland Justice Partners from among three bidders on the project.

"They will be great partners moving forward and I'm confident they can execute this project," Ballard said during a news conference Dec. 12.

The consortium is made up of equity partners Meridiam Infrastructure Indy Justice LLC, Balfour Beatty Investments Inc. and Walsh Investors LLC with Walsh Construction Co. and others on the project side. The Merdiam- and Walsh-led team is also on the short list of teams to work on the Illiana Expressway, a $1.3 billion P3 project with Illinois and Walsh is also the lead on the Ohio River Bridges, a massive P3 project with Kentucky.

Carrying a price tag of $408 million, the Indianapolis project will build a new criminal justice system in downtown Indianapolis that will replace four existing facilities, including courthouses and jails. The project will be structured as an availability-payment P3. The private team will finance the upfront costs associated with building, operating and maintaining the complex for at least 35 years, while the city owns it and pays up to $50 million a year to the private team.

Under the deal with WMB, the city will pay the firm an annual fee of $46.8 million annually starting in 2019 and through the 35-year contract.

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter told local reporters the P3 would save $3.2 million annually from current costs.

It will be Indianapolis' third high-profile P3 under Mayor Greg Ballard, who took office nearly seven years ago and recently announced he would not run again. Under Ballard's tenure, the city has already privatized its parking system and sold its water and sewer department.

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