Kokomo’s Inventrek Technology Park set to re-open after damaging tornado strike last summer

KOKOMO, Ind. — Inventrek Technology Park is back! After suffering through a damaging tornado strike last August 24, 2016 in Kokomo, the facility has been closed while a complete restoration got underway.

But now the facility is set to reopen with a grand celebration taking place Thursday, May 11th.

Operated by the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, Inventrek is one of 24 state Certified Tech Parks in Indiana. It’s a facility that houses a business incubator program and The Shared Drive, Howard County’s first coworking space.

When the tornado hit on Aug. 24, nearly 200 people were in the building. Fortunately there were no injuries, but the building itself didn’t fare as well.

Major damage to the roof led to significant water damage throughout the facility. That damage caused the immediate closure of the facility.

What followed was a 7-month, $3.4 million renovation of the 98,000-square-foot facility. Remediation efforts began immediately and resulted in a nearly bare bone facility that required a complete restoration.

Part of the rebuilding process including installing a new roof, new walls, carpeting, wall coverings, lighting, HVAC system, and replacing nearly100 windows.

Officials report that nearly 26,000 work hours have been accrued during this entire rebuilding process.

Closure affects 27 businesses

The closure left the building’s 27 tenants without office space.

Inventrek staff immediately began looking for temporary office space for the displaced tenants. Thanks to two local businessmen, Inventrek staff was able to help secure temporary office space for 6 business incubator tenants and the coworking space within a week of the storm.

For the other displaced tenants, the business community in Kokomo truly came together to ensure these startup and growing businesses were able to survive the interim while the Inventrek building was renovated.

Property owners around the community allowed Inventrek tenants to operate under temporary or shorter term leases, so that they could easily return to Inventrek when the time came. And in many cases, property owners offered discount rent rates to make the start-up businesses’ operating costs more comparable to the program rates here at Inventrek.

All of these efforts allowed all but one business in the Inventrek incubator program to continue despite being without office space so early in their existence.

Now that the Inventrek facility is reopening, 16 of the 27 tenants have returned to again operate as part of the incubator program. More of the original 27 tenants are expected to return once their temporary leasing situation allows. For others, they are now operating their business in permanent office space outside the incubator program.