City officials moving forward with investment in science, technology hub

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Indianapolis city officials are determined to create a science and technology hub on the near west side of the city, and they are convinced two important anchors now in place could kickstart future development.

“It started as a concept on the back of a napkin and then turned into a pretty incredible project,” said John Watson, head of Core Redevelopment that just rebuilt the historic Bush Stadium.

The Stadium has been transformed into more than 100 loft apartments and the city is in the final stages of purchasing a 19-acre piece of commercial property from Citizens Energy Group. Both lots are a part of the redevelopment area that is being called ’16 Tech’, which spans more than 170 acres.

“We are the western node of ’16 Tech.’ Would I have done this with all that not happening behind me? Absolutely not,” said Watson.

“We have a residential anchor here, and we’ll have a commercial, industrial, research anchor over at the Citizens Energy water property,” said Marc Lotter, Mayor Greg Ballard’s Spokesman.

The Citizens Energy Group land could provide one million square feet of space for a life sciences-focused research institute. At least, that is the marketing plan. Lotter said they have a clear focus for the area that is in close proximity to downtown, the IUPUI campus and the Indiana University School of Medicine.

“When we find out they’re interested, it’s too late. We need that property ready to go,” said Lotter who said the city lost two big companies in recent years because the right amount of land was not available.

“We’re thrilled about the energy it will bring,” said Malina Jeffers, with the Madame Walker Theatre Center.

She said they have watched as new investments have been made along Indiana Avenue and beyond.

More than a dozen commercial properties for sale or lease are currently being marketed in the area. Fox59 has been told financial incentives could likely be a part of those packages. The city also owns some of the available land.

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