Former downtown high school turning into tech hub

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Five years ago, Indiana didn't have any shared work spaces dedicated for entrepreneurs. Today, there's a network of 39 co-working spaces throughout the state and the newest one to the list, Launch Indy, is expected to be the new hub for the entrepreneur community in central Indiana.

Launch Indy will occupy 10,000 square feet inside Union 525, a 122,000 sq. ft. facility, which was the original Manual Tech High School. It's located just south of downtown Indianapolis at 525 S. Meridian Street.

In addition to the co-working space, the building will house several offices, approximately 5,000 sq. ft. each, for companies that have outgrown the start-up space.

Union 525 developer and investor John Hurley, said he will offer one-year leases for companies looking to expand to help encourage growth.

“What we’ve developed is a product design for that scale-up company to easily plug in and not have to worry, from a personal level, if that company is going to fail," Hurley said.

Some of the key amenities of the building will include the school's original basketball court, built 122 years ago.

"It's like something straight out of the movie, 'Hoosiers,'" Launch Fishers Founder John Wechsler, who will also help spearhead Launch Indy, said.

Hurley is also  currently getting three slides, one for each story, made that will all land in the courtyard.

"So from any floor you will be able to slide down to the courtyard," Hurley said. "It will be the largest slide without water in the state of Indiana."

The space is expected to be completely renovated by late spring. Hurley hopes to have a kick-off week for the facility in June.