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16 Tech Innovation District about to take off

Will transform area north of IUPUI and hospitals
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Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 01:00:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The first chapter in the unfolding history of the 16 Tech Innovation District is being written on the northwest edge of downtown Indianapolis.

Building One is ready for its first tenants to move in after Labor Day. More construction will follow in stages. "Our objective over the next seven to 10 years is to build out that 50 acres into about three million square feet of office and lab buildings, plus some residential and retail and public parks," explained Bob Coy, President and CEO of the 16 Tech Innovation District.

Building one tenants include: The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, IU School of Medicine lab space, and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

The Innovation District in not your typical office park. "We're designing it so it will be attractive to established corporations and startup companies in the life sciences, tech, advanced engineering, advanced energy, and the Ag tech sectors," said Coy.

It's location is by choice. North of West 10th Street, south of West 16th and bordered by Indiana Avenue on the east, the development is close to IUPUI, Riley Hospital and the IU School of Medicine. According to Coy, "it's being designed so that the companies that locate there can easily collaborate with academic institutions such as IU, Purdue, Notre Dame and even others like Rose Hulman and Butler."

"The mix of tenants who are being recruited in those different industries will benefit by being there by virtue of being close to others who are innovating, so that ideas can transfer between people that result in new products and processes and new jobs for Indianapolis and Indiana," said Coy.

How many jobs? "Our objective is to go vertical in this district so that we have density. And we want to build it out so there are about 3,000 people working there in the next seven to ten years," said Coy. He expects the project's total cost to be well beyond $500 million.

The idea for something like 16 Tech has been around for years. A number of cities across the country have similar developments near major research institutions, but it wasn't until 2015 that plans for the project took off.

The 16 Tech Community Corporation was formed as a not-for-profit corporation to assemble the land. That same year, the City of Indianapolis authorized $55 million in tax increment financing, a tool used by cities to stimulate development in a specific area using the anticipation on future tax revenue.

In 2017, the Lilly Endowment and Fairbanks Foundation awarded 16 Tech grants of $40 million.

16 Tech teamed up with Browning-Davis as the developer-builder of the first two buildings and the initial housing. In 2019, $23 million was raised to repurpose the old Citizens Energy Company building into what's called an "innovation hub."

16 Tech is not all about work. The corporation hopes to break ground by the end of the year on 300 apartments and another 450 to follow. There are also plans for an artisan marketplace and a stage for events of up to 450 people.

As for the future, "as developers come to us with tenants, we will work with them to put a building up," said Coy.